Black Friday to overtake New Year sales

Posted by Erika Bone in Personal Finance on 25 November 2016 - Erika is a Credit Analyst at checkmyfile

Over the past three years, Black Friday has taken the UK retail market by storm, with no sign of abatement for this year’s discount bonanza. But has this day of consumer overindulgence now grown to such an extent that it has surpassed the Christmas and January sales, Britain’s traditional period of frenzied buying?

Black Friday, and its counterpart, Cyber Monday, are relative newcomers to the UK consumer psyche having crossed the water from America only a handful of years ago. Always held on the Friday after Thanksgiving, Black Friday in the US signals the start of the holiday period and the beginning of the hunt for bargain Christmas presents.

But this seemingly random day to everyone in the UK not of an American extraction has had a significant impact on the UK retail industry. John Watton of tech firm Adobe Digital Insights states that, “In just three short years, Black Friday has radically reshaped consumer spending over the Christmas period in the UK.”

Consumer experts have forecast that £2bn will be spent this year, with at least £1.27bn of this taken up by online revenue. 2016 could also be a bumper year due to consumer fear of Brexit-created price increases in the New Year. John Roberts, Chief executive of online retailer AO World is expecting record figures, “With Brexit currency movements, prices are going up early next year, so there is a double whammy for customers. So our belief is it will be bigger than ever.”

2015 saw UK shoppers spend £3.74bn in the Boxing Day sales, which was a 6% increase in the revenues generated in 2014 so it would seem the Black Friday of 2015 did not curtail post-Christmas spending but political and financial circumstances have greatly changed since then. Fear of what is to come in 2017 could see for the first time traditional seasonal spending surpassed by a corporately constructed day of spending, engineered by global retailers.

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