Black Friday: The best bargains to pick up for Christmas
Forget Christmas, Boxing Day and the New Year sales because Northern Ireland shoppers are limbering up to spend a whopping £50m today alone.
Welcome to Black Friday — a day which has, unquestionably, become the most anticipated of all in the shoppers’ annual calendar, when massive discounts and unmissable deals abound.
And the message is simple: if you’ve had your eye on a brand new TV, a statement suit, or you need to replace a sagging settee or a creaky old cooker, now is the time to take action.
This year, Northern Ireland retailers are bracing themselves for their busiest Black Friday ever, as bargain hunters take to the streets in earnest in order to steal a march on their Christmas shopping.
A staggering £2bn is expected to change hands in just 24 hours across the UK as millions of products fly off the shelves during the frantic annual shopping frenzy which is growing in popularity.
Economist John Simpson said consumers across the province will be even more eager to part with their cash as they attempt to beat Brexit-induced price rises early next year.
“People here are just as likely to be reckless in terms of extra spending on Black Friday as anywhere else in the United Kingdom and unfortunately a lot of this will be spending that hasn’t been planned,” he said.
“Up to £50m is expected to be spent by local consumers in total today, with around £15m of that spend online.”
Although there’s no denying that it’s a marketing gimmick, consumers embrace Black Friday as an opportunity to save hundreds of pounds on a variety of items from TVs to tablet computers and winter coats.
A PricewaterhouseCoopers survey found that shoppers planning to bargain hunt this weekend had earmarked an average spend of £203, with electrical and technology items top of their lists.
Hot gadgets for 2016 include bean-to-cup coffee machines and high-pressure steam irons, but there are also huge discounts on beauty products, toys, homeware, outdoor goods and clothing. Indeed, the Belfast Telegraph saved a whopping £1,125 on a wide-ranging basket of 15 items that included perfume, a vacuum cleaner, a Disney Frozen scooter, a laptop and a pair of ladies boots.
With the pre-Black Friday value of our shopping haul coming in at almost £2,870, compared to an actual spend of around £1,745, there is clearly an enormous financial gain available for consumers who plan ahead and have a dedicated wish-list.
Retail expert Donald McFetridge said that local consumers are more prepared than ever this year to bag a bargain.
“I predict that, this November in particular, retailers will be trying to encourage shoppers to keep spending from now and, for the next six weeks, right up until Christmas Eve,” he said.
Amazon was the first company to launch their 2016 Black Friday deals daily from November 14, while Argos, Boots, Tesco and Carphone Warehouse were among those who quickly followed suit.
And although some stores started extremely early, they will have reserved some special offerings for today. But other big household names such as Apple, Next, IKEA and Asda will not be taking part in Black Friday at all.
Cash-strapped consumers should also remember that November 28 is Cyber Monday —which has emerged as a way of persuading consumers to find the same online bargains.
Over the four-day Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend, UK shoppers are set to spend £4bn, according to credit card provider MBNA.