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Northern Ireland shoppers still hungry for Black Friday deals


Glyn Roberts

Glyn Roberts

Glyn Roberts

More than half of shoppers in Northern Ireland are planning to splash out for Black Friday, a new survey has revealed.

The results showed that 59% of adults here said they are interested or plan to buy something on November 29 with an average spend of £183.

That marks a rise of 35% on last year, the second highest in the UK. The average increase across the UK is 11%, and a spend of £224.

Advisory firm PwC spoke to 10,000 adults about their Black Friday plans across the UK, Ireland, South Africa, Netherlands and France.

A fifth (20%) of local shoppers said they would spend £500 or more and a quarter (25%) said they would even splash out as much as £3,250.

Men are the bigger spenders for Black Friday in the UK, shelling out a third more than women (£254 vs £191).

However, 77% were treating themselves, compared to the 71% of women spending on their families.

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Electrical gadgets remain the must-have items, with over half of UK shoppers planning to buy the latest tech.

UK consumers are the least enthusiastic of the countries surveyed, with only 52% overall saying they are interested in Black Friday.

This compares to 84% in the Republic, 81% in France and 88% in South Africa.

Retail NI chief executive Glyn Roberts said the forecast of a Black Friday boost for Northern Ireland was a surprise.

"The Black Friday phenomenon was certainly in decline in recent years," he said.

"Negative scenes of people fighting over plasma screens were certainly off-putting to a lot of customers. Retailers are starting a lot earlier every year with Christmas shopping and hard-pressed families are obviously spreading out their spend now and starting early."

He said it could be partly explained by people getting paid in late November.

"This last week in November really is critical for retailers, particularly non-food retailers," he said.

Mr Roberts said the political instability caused by Brexit had caused worry that high-end retail will see a dip in consumer confidence.

"It's too early to tell what the impact will be but we will be looking very closely at consumer spend," he said.

He added that he expected record figures for online sales this year, but the retail and hospitality sectors in Northern Ireland were working together to attract shoppers.

This follows on from a major push to bring customers into Belfast city centre since the devastating 2018 Primark fire.

Almost a third of those questioned in the UK said the deals simply weren't exciting enough and a fifth didn't believe they were genuine.

Under 25-year-olds were the least impressed by Black Friday, with a projected spend of £111, down 11% from last year.

Lynne Rainey, partner at PwC NI, said that although opinion was split across Northern Ireland there was still an "undeniable appetite" from bargain hunters.

She said a collaborative approach with retailers was required to get shoppers on to the high street.

"It's encouraging to see innovative approaches like the Belfast Coin - due to formally launch this year - which rewards positive behaviour by giving people money to use in local businesses and which could have a marked impact on the city's economic growth," she said.

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