Black Friday UK fears unfounded as shopping discounts continue to hit the mark
Well, that was a surprise. After dire warnings about how weak Black Friday might be given consumer nervousness over spending and the World Cup distracting their attention, it actually turned out to be quite an event.
Worries over Black Friday’s continuing relevance as a shopping fest may have been misplaced with Barclaycard Payments saying on Friday that spending rose.
The company processes £1 in every £3 spent in the UK and as of 17:00 on Friday, it had seen a 3.2% increase in the volume of payments compared to the same time on Black Friday 2021.
Marc Pettican, Head of Barclaycard Payments, said: “We're now able to look at the majority of Black Friday sales data, and we can see that the number of transactions has increased when compared to last year.
“Sales volumes have also continued to rise since lunchtime, confirming that Black Friday is still an important milestone in the retail calendar. This is encouraging news for retailers who will have been unsure about the outcome of today, given the rising cost-of-living. It will have been helped along by the World Cup coinciding with Black Friday for the first time, providing a welcome boost as football fans head out to socialise and watch the match.
“Retailers will hope the increase in transactions online and in-store will continue into the weekend and Cyber Monday.”
One thing that's interesting is that the spending activity seems to have been fairly consistent, with the day starting steadily rather than seeing some of the crazy spikes very early on that used to happen in its early days.
Sensormatic IQ also reported that footfall was higher on Black Friday with a 3.7% increase against a year ago, and a massive 32.9% week on week rise.
High streets performed, particularly well with a 13.9% increase against 2021, although physical locations are still not capturing the kind of footfall that they saw before the pandemic. Shopper numbers on Black Friday were still 21.3% down on pre-Covid levels.
Like Barclaycard, Sensormatic said that rather than hindering shoppers, the World Cup actually boosted retail in England, with shopper traffic count there up 5.7% year-on-year.
In Wales, which also had a match on Friday, the increase was less marked, but there was still a 3.2% rise.
Also on the footfall front, Springboard said that visitor traffic in central London rose 20.8% year on year and 7.9% on last week, with signs of it strengthening as the day wore on. Again, the company highlighted how footfall remains down on the last very busy, pre-pandemic Black Friday, but we do seem to be reverting at last to some kind of pre-Covid behaviour with city centres benefiting more than smaller towns.
As well as the Barclaycard spending data, Nationwide Building Society also said that its customers made 8% more purchases by 2pm than last year and a third more than in 2020. It predicted that Friday would turn out to be the busiest shopping day of the year so far.
And while some said that physical stores were seeing the biggest uplift compared to online, John Lewis Partnership customers ordered 5.5 products every second on Friday. Technology was key, but fashion also performed well. And Boots said that it saw more than three orders every second on its website, which means beauty was also a hot category.
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