Will the cost-of-living kill Black Friday?

Posted by: Lowell|November 24 2023


The truth behind Black Friday spending in the UK

Originally an American tradition, Black Friday has quickly become one of the most anticipated dates for both shoppers and retailers. The main draw for most Brits is the idea that you can get your hands on some of the year’s best discounts and deals.
However, research by Finder¹ has revealed that 45% of British people are choosing to prioritise their financial well-being and are estimated to spend £900 million less than last year.
Festive period spending habits

Considering the fact that it’s such a big event along with the findings from Finder, we wanted to conduct our own research² delving into how people are approaching Black Friday this year.

The top ways Brits are being more money-conscious in the lead-up to the festive season

When it comes to the ways in which consumers are being more careful with their money ahead of Christmas, our research discovered that a third of people have already agreed to not exchange gifts with family and friends.

Not everyone is keen to stop the tradition of gift giving though with 15% being more money-savvy and shopping for presents on second-hand sites Vinted or Facebook Marketplace instead of buying new.

Over one in five (21%) have decided that one way they can keep costs down over the festive period is by being pickier with what sort of social events they decide to attend.

Seeing things online can also lead to spur-of-the-moment orders, and 11% of respondents told us that they’re going to try to avoid social media and falling into the trap of unnecessary overspending.

How many consumers research their purchases before Black Friday sales?

As there’s such a build-up to Black Friday, some people do start getting prepared and researching what they might want to buy early on.

According to our research, over a quarter of people (27%) monitor the price of an item before Black Friday and will only buy it if it goes on sale. Meanwhile, 10% of respondents said that they leave it until the day of when they end up impulse-buying deals that grab their attention.

However, is it worth doing any research before Black Friday? Well, it turns out that it might be worthwhile for your wallet. In fact, 6% of respondents told us that they ended up spending more than they could afford during the flash sales because they didn’t do any prior research.

What are the main pressures Brits face due to Black Friday sales?

Trying to keep up with what friends and family are buying is revealed to be the top reason for falling into the Black Friday hype for just under a third of respondents (29%). From new gadgets to the latest clothing trends, there’s always going to be something new on the market.  

Preparing for Christmas is another factor that urges over two in ten people to spend during Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Given the fact that the sale event takes place over the final weekend of November, this makes a lot of sense.

It can be hard to resist the temptation of a good deal, and 21% of respondents even said that the fear of missing out is what pushes them to spend during Black Friday sales. Some other pressures uncovered in our research come down to an increase in advertising whether that be via email, print, and TV (15%) or influencers on social media (13%).

What pressure do you feel to spend over the festive period

The cost-of-living crisis is making savvier shops of us all, which may take the shine off Black Friday for some retailers. But the good news for shoppers is that by sticking to a budget, resisting impulse buys, and spending both more prudently and creatively, they can still enjoy festive treats this year.

2. A survey conducted by TFL Panel on behalf of Lowell, October 2023. 1,300 general respondents in the UK