| 11.9°C Belfast

Strabane people NI's biggest Black Friday spenders

Co Tyrone town tops Royal Mail's hotspot delivery list


Orders: Royal Mail says rural towns like Strabane tend to order more online over Black Friday weekend

Orders: Royal Mail says rural towns like Strabane tend to order more online over Black Friday weekend

Orders: Royal Mail says rural towns like Strabane tend to order more online over Black Friday weekend

Strabane has emerged as the most prolific area of Northern Ireland for online shopping over the Black Friday weekend.

New research from Royal Mail has found that the Co Tyrone border town topped the list ahead of Newtownabbey, Magherafelt, Ballymoney and Newry.

Rural locations proved to be most popular for bagging online bargains during the Black Friday sales extravaganza.

The top 10 shopping hotspots were based on analysis of parcels accepted into the Royal Mail network between November 25 and December 1.

The Northern Ireland results were based on locations where each parent delivery office is located, Royal Mail said.

Black Friday traditionally marks the start of the Christmas shopping period.

Unveiling this year's results, Royal Mail said online shopping has become central to the way of life for people dwelling in rural areas.

Weekly Business Digest

Margaret Canning’s selection of the must-read business stories straight to your inbox every Tuesday morning

This field is required

The Covid-19 pandemic has predictably brought a marked increase in online shopping, and Black Friday weekend was also different this year due to high street lockdowns both here and in England.

In the UK as a whole the remote Shetland Islands topped the list, along with the Hebrides, Carlilse and Kirkwall on Orkney.

Nick Landon, chief commercial officer at Royal Mail, described 2020 as having been "a year like no other" adding that Christmas is expected to be "very different for many people across the UK too".

"Given our unparalleled reach across the UK, we're uniquely placed to reveal the Black Friday weekend online shopping hotspots for 2020," he said.

"It's no surprise to see that ahead of Christmas, parcel delivery is as important for our rural customers as it is for our city customers.

"We understand the important role we play in keeping the UK connected at this challenging time. Everyone at Royal Mail is proud to help keep the country safe and connected and we are looking forward to delivering even more Christmas cheer over the coming weeks."

Meanwhile, Northern Ireland online shoppers have played their part in overwhelming the Debenhams website yesterday, just hours after news that the department store chain had collapsed.

The stricken firm, which has five stores here, announced yesterday that it would be ceasing to trade, with the expected loss of 12,000 staff UK-wide, including over 700 across the region.

Debenhams launched a stock clearance sale at 7am yesterday, prompting thousands of bargain hunters to form long, virtual queues.

Already, there have been reports that the site has crashed several times.

A spokesperson for the company said: "We have had unprecedented levels of online visits to the site."

Social media users in Northern Ireland reported that they were placed in virtual queues which had as many as 900,000 other customers.