Scots set to leave Black Friday in the dark as ‘interest declines’

Scottish shoppers are turning their backs on one of the biggest events of the year, with just 35% saying they’re interested in buying during Black Friday this year.

The latest PwC analysis shows interest in the shopping event has waned across the UK - dropping from 61% in 2022 to 44% in 2023 - with anticipated spend falling to £5.6bn, from £7.1bn in 2022.

Appetite north of the border is below the UK average, with just 13% saying they will ‘definitely buy’ and 22% saying they ‘may buy’.

Of those surveyed in Scotland, 37% said they were ‘not interested’ in Black Friday, with 14% vowing to completely avoid pre-Christmas bargain-hunting. Another 14% said that, despite buying previously, they had no plans to do so this year.

Those planning purchases in Scotland are most likely to do so online, with 77% intimating that they will opt for online delivery - higher than the UK average of 68%.

While only 6% say they plan to use click and collect options, almost one fifth of shoppers (18%) said they will do their Black Friday shopping in-store.

Susannah Simpson, partner at PwC Scotland, said: “Just a few weeks ago, our Autumn Consumer Sentiment survey revealed that almost a third of Scots had plans to cut back on festive spending - and it seems this even applies to bargain-hunting for Black Friday.

“The decreased interest in the annual shopping event north of the border could be indicative of the fact that many people told us they planned to start Christmas shopping even earlier than usual - meaning they’re not holding off for Black Friday offers to bolster their festive haul.

“Rising costs in other areas are still impacting households, with consumers opting for a more planned and methodical approach to spending.

“And whilst Scots are indicating that they’ll very much be taking advantage of the convenience of online shopping and home delivery, the fact that one fifth of shoppers still want the in-store experience for Black Friday should provide a welcome pre-Christmas boost to retailers.”

The research shows that the greatest interest is from under-45s and Black Friday shopping continues to be predominantly an online phenomenon. Even so, interest for the under-45s has dropped by between 15 and 20 percentage points.

This year interest levels have also equalised between men and women, with men having been more enthusiastic Black Friday shoppers in the past. Overall, the proportion who don't intend to buy at all has increased from 39% in 2022 to 56% in 2023.

Men are more likely to buy for themselves (70%) with their most popular category being technology and electronics (59% of male shoppers). Conversely, women are more interested in buying for the family (74%) and their top categories are fashion (42%), tech (40%) and Christmas gifts (39%).

Separate research from Barclays has suggested that Christmas is coming early for the UK’s retail sector, with nearly half (49%) opting to display festive-themed goods earlier this year.

In fact, a quarter of retailers now put up Christmas displays as early as September, with the majority (57%) going up by October.

Shopping sector optimism is fuelled by expectations that consumers will return to the high street, with 60% of those surveyed by the bank expecting greater footfall in stores this year, compared to online shopping.

Resilience is underscored by the fact that 23% of retailers plan to hire more temporary staff compared to previous Christmases.

Karen Johnson, head of retail and wholesale at Barclays Corporate Banking, said: “After a not-so-festive 2022 season[1], and amidst widespread concern over the health of the economy, retailers have moved decisively to build resilience.

“Though consumer demand has been weak in recent months as warm weather has dampened the Christmas spirit, there are early signs that customers remain committed to Christmas and this year will see strong sales for retailers, benefiting the industry and giving the UK economy a potential boost as the year draws to a close.”

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  1. ^ a not-so-festive 2022 season (
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