Could bargain-hunting save Black Friday in the UK?

The Black Friday discount period, once restricted to the US market, has undoubtedly made a name for itself in the UK, but the shopping bonanza seems to have somewhat lost its buzz in recent years. Well, according to new research by British property development company Hammerson, there is something that could save the UK’s Black Friday: Britons’ love for a good bargain.

Hammerson’s research showed that despite national uncertainty regarding an ever-approaching Brexit, and tightening consumer purse strings in the current retail landscape, bargain-hunting could keep the Black Friday shopping event afloat.

In a survey of 3,120 people, the largest group of shoppers (40 percent) identified most strongly as ‘Bargain Shoppers’ - shoppers who will wait for the best deal before making a purchase. In second place, 18 percent of shoppers identified themselves as ‘Researchers’ - people who spend time exploring and comparing different products.

‘Successful bargain hunting’ proved to play such a large role in UK customers’ ‘most enjoyable’ shopping trips that people are more likely to regret a missed deal (52 percent) than a purchase they’ve made (36 percent).

While price is important, customers favour experiential retail

If people had to choose only one way to shop, 66 percent of the UK’s shoppers - and 69 percent of ‘bargain shoppers’ - said they would prefer physical stores over online ones. Additionally, 72 percent of people said their most enjoyable shopping experiences have been in physical stores - 49 percent of those at a shopping centres, and 42 percent on the high street.

Brick-and-mortar stores were also well-liked by consumers, with 72 percent saying they prefer to purchase footwear in store, and 66 percent saying they would favour physical stores for shopping fashion. Physical stores are also preferred for Health and Beauty (76 percent), Electricals (49 percent), and Books, News and Stationery (55 percent).

Mark Bourgeois, Managing Director UK & Ireland, said in a statement: “2018 has seen significant discounting across much of the sector, and the importance that today’s consumers place on getting a good deal is evident; however, pricing is clearly only one aspect of a compelling retail offer, and this is reflected in many retailers focusing more acutely on experiential retail.

“The initial Black Friday one-day frenzy, which has put off many people in the past couple of years, has evolved, and many retailers are now either spreading promotions out over several days, or taking a more responsive and selected approach to their offers. It is clear that Black Friday now signals the start of the festive shopping season for many.

“While many consumers will scroll through deals online in the coming days, the draw of the store is strong. We expect to see an uplift in click and collect usage as a result of Black Friday activity, which we know will drive additional sales for our retailers.”

The news comes just days after New West End Company predicted that 150 million pounds was set to be spent in London’s West End During Black Friday Weekend.

Kyle Monk, Head of Insight, New West End Company, said in a statement: “Retailers across the West End are looking forward to the busy Christmas season, which kicks off with Black Friday Weekend. Despite a tough year for retailers, we predict that Black Friday spending in the West End will be on par with last year and a significant 150 million pounds will be spent as visitors take advantage of special offers to help in their gift buying.”

3,120 people were surveyed as part of Hammerson’s research, which was conducted online by FTI’s Strategy Consulting & Research team, from 11-14 September 2018.

Photo credit: Yankeemagazines


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