UK Black Friday interest soars as consumers look for one-off deals

British consumers who were previously sceptic about Black Friday are growing to like the annual sales event, with a soaring 81% of consumers intending to bag a bargain this year, compared to just 22% in 2016, according to research from Periscope by McKinsey.

The shopping extravaganza, which falls on 24 November this year, will be driven by consumer expectations around special promotions, as 38% of UK shoppers expect to find deals not available at other times of the year.

“Retailers will need to be sure they deliver on this key promise with enticing ‘one-off’ offers that are unique and differentiated – or risk disappointing consumers and switching them off from participating in future years,” said Brian Elliott, managing partner at Periscope by McKinsey to Essential Retail.

48% of consumers have also identified steep discounting as a primary motivation and will be looking out for truly tempting offers. Interestingly, this number has fallen from last year, when 65% of UK respondents said big discounts were key, suggesting consumers are now placing more emphasis on one-off differentiated offers.


As the lines between digital and in-store shopping continue to blur, 31% of consumers are planning to shop both online and in-store this year and many shoppers would like to see convenient ‘buy online, pick up in-store’ services.

In contrast, just 11% of UK consumers said they would divide their Black Friday shopping activities between digital and physical channels in 2016.

19% of those surveyed plan to go online only for Black Friday, and 31% will prioritise online over bricks-and-mortar retail.

The online channel will be preferred by shoppers who are looking to shop across more product categories and 36% of consumers said they have a higher budget to spend this year.

Elliot said: “Consumer appetite for Black Friday in the UK has surged this year, with more planning to shop, in more categories, with more disposable budget. There is a clear opportunity for those retailers that understand how their customers shop in an omnichannel setting and therefore focus on creating shopping experiences that tie their online and physical channels together.

“We know from the research that consumers have a shopping list and are researching online already now, that means they are giving you clues about what they want. Retailers that can use that information to create personalised promotions and offers, stand a much higher chance of securing sales, and making Black Friday 2017 their biggest ever.”

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