It's one of the biggest shopping days of the calendar, and it's happening next week – Black Friday is almost upon us, and Brits are set to spend billions during this one key event.
Research from finder.com shows that consumers plan to spend a record £4.5 billion over the Black Friday weekend, at an average of over £300 each, with many having saved up for weeks and even months in advance to make the most of the sales. Given that many retailers now see Black Friday as more than a single day event, there's more opportunity to spend, and bargain hunters can't wait to get started.
This £4.5 billion total is only a conservative estimate, too, with Jon Ostler, CEO of finder (UK), saying that impulse buys could ramp up the total even more. Perhaps this is why additional research from TopCashback.co.uk found that Brits are set to spend even more, at £553 each, with more consumers than ever planning to hit the shops on Black Friday – or rather, hit the internet.
TopCashback's research found that only 2% of consumers will be shopping solely instore on Black Friday, with 30% planning to shop both instore and online and 68% opting for online shopping only. Yet this doesn't mean that they'll be any less tempted to splash the cash, with this year's £553 planned expenditure being up from £421 last year, perhaps because 41% are waiting for the sales to buy big ticket items.
Indeed, 45% have been holding off buying such items since September and 19% have been waiting since August, while a particularly patient 16% have been biding their time since April or earlier. This shows how ingrained this shopping event is becoming in the calendar, with only 12% of surveyed consumers not planning to shop.
"Black Friday was originally presented to the UK with images of people rushing around shops fighting over TVs and electricals," said Adam Bullock, UK director of TopCashback.co.uk, "but, now three years on, Black Friday is largely an online event. In fact, last year for the first time we saw more people logging-on to buy from their mobile or tablets than desktops."
Whether you're looking for clothes (36% of TopCashback's respondents), beauty products (25%), toys (24%), items for the home (20%), Christmas gifts (13%) or anything else, you need to be on the ball to make the most of the sales and ensure you really do bag a bargain.
This means you need to go about it the right way. Don't get carried away but instead make cool, calm and rational decisions, ideally by comparing prices online to ensure you're getting the best price. Don't be tempted to spend more than you were planning to, only spend what you can afford and never get into debt for the sake of a sale, and ideally, use your savings to ensure you're not unnecessarily spending all your income.
Be on the lookout for additional ways to make your money go further, too, such as by scouting out additional discounts or cashback offers. When online, always see if you can shop through a cashback site to get an extra boost, and you may want to combine that with a cashback credit or debit card – the former should only ever be considered by those who can afford to pay the balance off in full when the statement arrives, but if you can, you can easily get something for nothing.
Alternatively, and again only if you've properly planned, you may want to consider shopping on a 0% credit card if you're planning a big purchase. That way you can spread the cost of your new tech or home appliance (for example) for as long as 31 months, but just make sure that your credit score is up to scratch, and that you've got a plan in place to repay the balance in full before the 0% deal is up (and at the very least, make sure you can afford the minimum repayments each month).
Above all, stay sensible! As Jon Ostler at finder says, "it's easy to get caught up in the hype surrounding these sales, so in order to avoid spending more than your budget can allow, it's worth preparing ahead. Make lists, do your research on prices early, try to avoid those impulse buys, and you'll not only avoid over-stretching yourself, but you'll feel smug in the knowledge that you've nabbed a bargain deal".
Compare savings accounts to build your pot for next year's sales
Check out the best 0% credit cards
Find a cashback credit card to get something back from your sale shopping
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.