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8th February 2023

More than half of Britons plan to cut back on Black Friday splurges in response to inflation

Sale tag with Black Friday written on yellow background for Black Friday concept

  • Even those planning purchases are unsure of how much they will spend
  • Meanwhile, 77% of consumers will change their gifting habits this Christmas, most by giving fewer presents or cheaper items 
  • However, nearly one in five (18%) plan to cut back by giving presents to fewer people – work colleagues & friends are prime suspects to be cut out 

[21 November 2022] – Attest, a leading consumer research platform, today reveals over half (58%) of Britons will pull back on spending splurges this Black Friday, compared to last year, in response to inflation.

According to the new research, the 58% of consumers who will cut back this Black Friday will instead:

  • Save money in case they need it due to economic uncertainty (32%)
  • Prioritise their money to cover day-to-day expenses (29%)
  • Pay for home energy bills (24%)
  • Other reasons given include making mortgage repayments and worries about job security (both 4% respectively)

Spenders’ plan for Black Friday 2022

However, most consumers do plan to spend at least something this Black Friday (at 74%):

  • Most are uncertain how much they’ll even spend: Last year, Attest foundthat Brits were on average spending £100-£200 (at 30%) on Black Friday. Yet this year, people are most likely to say they’re not sure how much they’ll spend (24%) pointing to economic uncertainty, followed by £51-£100 (at 20%).
  • This uncertainty extends to what people will buy: The picture of an unsure British consumer is also found in what products people will buy this Black Friday. Most (34%) are “not sure yet”. However, an interesting shift could unfold this year. Past research from Attest has found that technology products have always been the most sought-after by consumers for Black Friday. This year, clothing (at 32%) is the main type of product people plan to buy, followed by technology items (28%).
  • A majority will only make purchases online: This year will predominantly be an online-only affair. A wide majority of 63% will make purchases exclusively online, and just 10% will venture into the shops.

What consumers think of Black Friday

Despite the roll-out of further sales days like a second Prime Day, it appears that Black Friday has further enhanced its reputation as the premier sales event in the calendar for Britons.  

Nearly half (49%) agree it is the best day to buy discounted products (more than last year’s 38%). Yet there are signs of sales fatigue amongst hard-pressed consumers. A majority of 43% think the Black Friday sales event should be limited to 1-3 days at most, followed by 33% who believe it should just be a one-day event. 

When it comes to their favourite retailers on the day, consumers were most likely to select Amazon as their top choice for Black Friday sales, followed far behind by Currys and John Lewis.

Following US retailer REI’s announcement it is permanently shutting all its stores on Black Friday and giving employees a guaranteed day off, British shoppers were asked their opinion on such an action. A majority of consumers (49%) say they support this move, with just 11% opposing this decision.  

Beyond Black Friday: 77% will change gifting habits this year

Attest also surveyed the British public on how rapid price rises may alter their gifting behavior for the holiday season. An overwhelming majority (77%) plan to radically change how they gift – and who. The research finds that:

  • People will buy fewer presents: Of this 77%, consumers are most likely to give fewer presents to their loved ones this Christmas in response to the cost of living crisis (24%). This is followed by those who will give “much cheaper” presents (21%) and 18% who will gift fewer people in total.
    • Other solutions cash-strapped Brits will rely on include: gifting no one, giving second-hand/homemade products (both 5%), and providing presents without wrapping (3%). 
  • Work colleagues & friends better prepare for no gifts: The 18% who say they will gift fewer people in total this year, they are most likely to cut out work colleagues (23%) and friends (16%) from holiday gifting. Yet family members aren’t immune from having to experience a present-less Christmas, with 9% planning to avoid gifting siblings. 
  • Some will even scale back gifting a partner: Incredibly, some brave Brits (7%) even plan to avoid gifting their spouse/partner this year due to inflation. 

Jeremy King, CEO and Founder of Attest, said of the research: “Inflation and day-to-day worries about the economy are weighing heavily on almost all British consumers’ minds for Black Friday.” 

“Uncertainty seems to be the prevailing theme for every shopper, even among the minority of consumers who do plan to spend big on this retail event. Even the big spenders are unsure of how much they’ll spend and what they’ll purchase. This suggests that shoppers may hold off as long as possible to see if retailers can offer better deals.”

“Consumers’ desire to save or be extremely cautious when it comes to spending goes beyond Black Friday, with three-quarters admitting to changing their gifting behaviour this Christmas. This poses significant challenges to all retailers – with changing priorities, patterns and places where people are planning to spend – and while it will make this one of the most competitive Christmas retail periods in a long time, there will be winners.”

-ENDS-