Black Friday has become a thing for marketers and media in the UK, but new research suggests that consumers are less bothered by the hype surrounding the imported shopping festival.
Even as newspapers excitedly detail the bargains on offer and predict that online shopping will hit in-store footfall during a vital trading period, a study from independent media agency the7stars paints a different picture.
The latest findings from the most recent wave of The QT, a consumer confidence and attitude tracking study conducted on a quarterly basis by the agency, point to Black Friday losing its allure.
“Despite the event growing in size and scale, only 13% claim to do their Christmas shopping on Black Friday, a figure largely unchanged from two years ago (10%),” it said.
Not only that, four in five (81%) of Brits said they can find good sales and promotions all year round – indicating that Black Friday is no longer a standalone retail event for UK consumers.
Respondents also alluded to the overwhelming and slightly off-putting nature of Black Friday sales – with almost half (47%) claiming they get lost in the sea of promotions and often don’t know where to start – while two in five (41%) saw it as an American tradition with no place in the UK.
Younger consumers are more accepting, however: 35% of 18-24s claimed to hold off buying things until the event, compared with only 5% of the 65+ group. Similarly, a quarter of this group say they prefer it to the post-Christmas sales, compared with only 3% of the older generation.
Sentiment around the day is clearly changing, said Frances Revel of the7stars. “The ‘magic’ of previous years is really starting to wear off” as it is no longer seen as a chance to jump on lots of amazing deals.
“The Black Friday marketing period is now considered confusing to consumers; a largely American tradition that makes little sense here in the UK, and a practice that is encouraging already troubled retailers here to engage in a ‘race to the bottom’,” she added.
“In an insecure political climate, with the value of the £ fairly volatile, this might be the first year we see the tides begin turn on Black Friday from both a shopper and retailer perspective.”
Sourced from the7stars, Guardian; additional content by WARC staff