Black Friday frenzy as bargain-hunters loosen the purse strings
Many retailers have already offered days of deals in a bid to maximise hype and spending around the global event.
Black Friday has kicked off the predicted biggest ever weekend of shopping in the UK with consumers expected to spend almost £8 billion on deals over the next four days.
But despite high street stores appearing quiet, with little sign of queues seen in previous years, Britons will spend just under £2.6 billion on Friday alone, an 8% increase overall on last year.
They are also expected to spend £7.8 billion over the four-day period including Cyber Monday, up 7% on last year, according to predictions by VoucherCodes and the Centre for Retail Research (CRR).
Retailers are relying on a successful weekend and are hoping consumers will continue to spend confidently despite the first rise in interest rates in 10 years and a squeeze on disposable income driven by rising inflation and stagnant wage growth.
A number of big-name chains such as John Lewis, Game, Tesco and Argos have extended their high street opening hours and many retailers have already offered days of deals in a bid to maximise hype and spending around the global event.
But many retailers, from luxury brands to discounters, are opting out.
Luxury London department store Harrods is running a small number of “seasonal discounts” and waiting until after Christmas to run bigger sales because it believes that frenzied sales “cheapen the brand”.
Marks and Spencer has also bowed out this year because it believes that instead of increasing sales, discounts bring Christmas purchases forward.
Low-cost retailers are skipping Black Friday and focusing on year-round bargains.
Furniture store Ikea said: “Our ambition is to offer everyday low prices all year round, which is why we don’t take part in temporary discounting events.”
And clothing retailer Primark said in a blog: “Black Friday? *Yawn* As if we’d make you wait all year for a flash sale, just to wow you with our totes increds prices.”
The dodgy Black Friday deals you're probably best off avoiding today.— Which? (@WhichUK) November 24, 2017
The UK spends more money during the Black Friday to Cyber Monday event than in any other weekend of the year, new figures from the Financial Conduct Authority, based on a billion bank transactions, show.
A survey by PwC estimated that online is overtaking in-store shopping on Black Friday in every age group.
Even 60% of over-65s plan on chasing bargains online instead of in-store.
The under-25s will do just 25% in store.
Ian Geddes, head of retail at Deloitte, said: “We expect to see another record year for Black Friday, with UK online sales likely to easily exceed last year’s £1.23 billion record on the day itself.”