Northern Ireland shoppers are UK’s savviest, as Black Friday and Cyber Monday approach

Almost half of people in Northern Ireland will buy something on Black Friday and Cyber Monday– but only if the deal is good enough, according to a survey of 2000 UK adults by PwC.

Local interest in this annual shopping event outstrips the rest of the UK, beating even London. And shoppers here are in the top three big spenders in the UK, with just over one in ten reporting that they will spend up to £1000 this weekend.

In sharp contrast to the national picture where on average 44 percent of the respondents said Brexit uncertainty had led them to adopt a more cautious financial attitude this year, only 25 percent of those questioned here said it had made them change their spending plans.

The name Black Friday is thought to have been coined in respect of the impact this specific day’s shopping can have on the retailers’ - literally pushing their bank balances ‘into the black’. It was first used in the early 2000s, but the practice of taking to the shops the day after Thanksgiving began in 1952. Cyber Monday is a more recent phenomenon, created by marketers in 2005 to encourage people returning to work after the holiday weekend to continue shopping from their computers at work.

44 percent of those questioned locally will head to the till for the right price, compared to 23 percent of people in Scotland, and 27 percent in Wales. However 37 percent have no interest, similar to the national picture (38 percent) and 2 percent actively avoid the sales.

This region is also least likely to benefit from impulse purchases if last year is anything to go by, where it accounted for 25 percent of things bought compared with 48 percent in Wales and 43 percent in London.

Key survey findings include:

·       A decrease in the number of online and mobile shoppers from last year – down from 82 percent to 69 percent with in-store purchasing up 4 percent

·       Average consumer spending will go up by 20 percent; only the 55 – 64 age group will spend less than last year

·       Men are more likely to buy for themselves though most purchases will be gifts for family

·       The top purchases will be electrical and technology, pushing clothes into second place

PwC Northern Ireland Partner Martin Cowie commented:

“The drastic slump in footfall felt by Northern Ireland’s retailers this year, particularly in Belfast, should be seen as a call to action. As this surveys shows, local shoppers are not anxious about spending money. Therefore, bricks and mortar retailers need to spend some time now to identify just what makes them different from others, and how to persuade shoppers to come in rather than go online.


“There’s a fairly even split in Northern Ireland between people choosing to shop during this particular weekend via their laptops, their phones and in-store. Retailers would be wise to take advantage of this, particularly as the most prolific spenders will be in the 18 – 34 age group. Introducing innovative technology that makes suggestions directly with customers’ smartphones, that reduces queue times at tills or digital price tags which can adjust prices and create special sales are just a few ways to adapt and evolve.


“Retailers can take heart from the small drop in online shopping and the smaller increase of in-store purchasing plans. Instead of exclusively seeing technology as a threat, they can play technology at its own game, and use it to further enhance their high street brands.”

Link to the report:


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