Although the origins of Black Friday are disputed with some believing it dates back as far as the 1860s in the US, it’s generally agreed that the recent phenomenon owes its name to the fact the businesses recorded their accounts in black and red, black being profits, red being losses. Many businesses operated at a loss throughout the year before going ‘into the black’, as shoppers purchased heavily-discounted goods after Thanksgiving.
The concept was introduced to the UK in 2010 and by 2013 the idea had caught on more widely with the fights infamously breaking out in the aisles of Asda, as people elbowed their way to gadget bargains.
The wonder (or disgusting abyss of consumerism, depending on where you stand), has led to a vast number of organisations analysing our shopping behaviours and producing a multitude of studies and reports.
Here we’ve put together a resource of as many facts and stats about UK Black Friday 2020 as we can find. If we’ve missed you out, please get in touch. We’ll be happy to add your research in.
1. Pricerunner wanted to understand the level of trust Brits have in retailers and so commissioned research with YouGov that revealed a majority, or 57% of us, do not believe that the ‘bargains’ offered by retailers are as good as they seem. Another 26% said they do not know if they can trust Black Friday offers or not.
2. This was borne out in a warning to consumers from Which?. Research showed that 85% of Black Friday UK deals could be found at the same price or cheaper in the previous six months, and just 1% of the 219 items it looked at in the six months before and after Black Friday 2019 were at their cheapest price on the day itself.
3. According to new research from independent economics consultancy Retail Economics in partnership with shopping payments group Klarna, 23 million Brits plan to do at least half of their Christmas shopping online.
4. Luminati, an online data collection provider, found that the number of consumers planning to do all or the majority of their holiday shopping online has doubled from 24% in 2019 to 51% in 2020, spanning all age groups including those aged over 65. Four in ten said that they can get carried away with all the discounts!
5. Mention Me’s fourth annual research study revealed that Black Friday retail activity isn’t for everyone: a third (30%) of UK consumers aren’t planning to shop this Black Friday. However, this is down from last year’s figure (39%) and 2018’s (53%) suggesting more people are being lured in to discount shopping. Apparently, a quarter of the 2,000 consumers surveyed, resisted making purchases in the two months leading up to the Black Friday sales.
6. Google’s own Search Trends data shows that searches for ‘early Black Friday’ and ‘early Black Friday deals’ are up significantly on last year. It appears that many people have started to plan even earlier: in the four weeks leading up to the 26th of September this year, search interest for the term ‘Christmas tree’ increased 32% compared with the same period in 2019. ‘Christmas stocking’ (+26%), and ‘Christmas decoration’ (+32%) have also seen spikes in search interest. Google also predicts an increase in ‘near me’ searches with 55% of UK consumers planning to shop more locally.
7. According to Shopify’s survey, shoppers are planning to increase spending this Black Friday / Cyber Monday weekend from £245 in 2019 to a predicted £376 this year. For the last three years, mobile purchases have outstripped desktop on Shopify stores, a trend which is set to continue this year.
8. Barclaycard reported that Black Friday 2019 hit a new peak of 1,184 transactions per second between 1pm and 2pm, up by around nine per cent from the previous year. It also found that transaction value was up 16.5 per cent compared with 2018, and the volume of transactions during last year’s sales event was up 7.2 per cent overall. (Stats to be updated for 2020 as soon as they become available.)
9. Electricals & technology is the category that most consumers intend to purchase, with 54% of those planning to participate in the event wanting to buy in this sector. GlobalData expects clothing & footwear to be less popular this year due to dampened demand for partywear, though branded sportswear could be a saving grace for retailers.
10. As consumers prepare for Black Friday, Quadient research reveals that a worrying 20% experienced lost or stolen parcels in the last 12 months. Thirty-one percent of shoppers expect to miss at least one Black Friday or Christmas delivery that will require redelivery attempts or depot collection this year.
11. Comparison site money.co.uk, reveals that just 1 in 10 said they considered the impact their online shopping deliveries may have on the environment. Their calculations estimate that online shopping on Black Friday this year is predicted to release around 429,000 tonnes of carbon emissions into the atmosphere – the equivalent to 435 return flights from London to New York