Black Friday and Cyber Monday may be relatively recent UK phenomenons, but they've transformed the way many of us shop for Christmas, with thousands of us trying to snap up a festive bargain on these two key shopping days – and figures suggest that we'll spend billions in the process.
Black Friday is a shopping tradition that originated in America, whereby shoppers descent on retailers on the Friday after Thanksgiving in the hope of snapping up some cut-price Christmas goodies. Cyber Monday emerged as a way for online shoppers to do the same thing a few days later, and this tradition has made its way to UK shores – and for many people, it now incorporates the whole weekend.
Black Friday was first noted in the UK in 2012, but it was only in 2013 that it became a truly prominent feature. Last year's spending surpassed the previous year's by 17%, research from MBNA has revealed, with UK shoppers spending a total of £810m on Black Friday and £720m on Cyber Monday. Based on previous years' data, if trends continue, the credit card provider predicts that spending may surpass the £1bn mark on Black Friday this year (27 November).
Research from VoucherCodes.co.uk and the Centre for Retail Research back up this assumption, with the data forecasting that UK shoppers will be spending a staggering £1.39bn on Black Friday alone, equating to an estimated £2,887,500 per minute. But, this will only be the beginning, as over the four-day period, shops are set to make a total of £3.49bn.
However, with all this spending comes a huge amount of saving, with VoucherCodes' data showing that their customers saved more than £1.8m between Black Friday and Cyber Monday last year thanks to the sheer range of deals available. "This year is set to be no different, with people already starting to search for deals relating to Black Friday," said Claire Davenport of VoucherCodes.co.uk, "[which is] testament to how the UK is getting savvier with its spending."
Perhaps unsurprisingly, additional MBNA figures show that Black Friday and Cyber Monday have quite clearly changed the way we shop, with Fridays and Mondays now the most popular festive shopping days for their customers, while Saturday and Sunday have become the least popular. Much of this is due to the increased dominance of online shopping, with many people shunning the crush of the high street for the comfort of bargain hunting in their own home.
Alan North, of MBNA, commented: "Online shopping is turning our traditional spending habit on its head. While some of us are still content to brave our Christmas shopping in the final few days, many more of us are now taking advantage of the promotions driven by Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The data shows that the goalposts are moving and millions of shoppers are reaping the rewards of major discounts in stores and online. As more of us become aware of the promotions offered, we expect sales to rise even further."
This kind of shopping is certainly growing in popularity. Additional figures from YouGov revealed that 22% are feeling positive about shopping on Black Friday this year, with 30% of those saying that the discounts will help them purchase items they couldn't otherwise afford. Another 22% are being particularly savvy and are specifically setting money aside to spend on deals they spot on 27 November, and 9% are actively planning to start their Christmas shopping on Black Friday.
The research suggests that many shoppers are managing the cost of Christmas by taking advantage of these discount shopping days, and by all accounts, they could be a great way to go. Chances are that you'll be able to snap up a bargain for just about everyone on your Christmas list, and as long as you budgeted carefully beforehand, you may find that your money goes further.
"Whether you're setting your sights on a big ticket item for your home or are strategically planning your Christmas shopping, this huge savings weekend is a big bonus for consumers in the run up to Christmas, helping people stay on top of their finances over the indulgent festive period," added Claire Davenport. "It's encouraging to see people planning ahead to ensure they can maximise the savings that are on offer, which is another great way to save money and avoid too much temptation by not having a focus on the day."
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Disclaimer: Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.
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