Black Friday goes off the boil, but Saturday spending heats up

Sales data taken from 2,000 UK independent retailers shows that sales on Black Friday were down eight per cent compared to last year.

Data from Vend shows that the early reports are true – Black Friday in the UK this year was a fizzer, with an eight per cent decrease in sales compared to last year, and a seven per cent decrease in spending. However, spending on Saturday was 12 per cent higher than Black Friday, and up two per cent on the same day last year. Further, Saturday spending jumped 20 per cent compared to previous Saturdays in October and November.

Discounting levels were also three per cent lower on Black Friday than last year. Overall though, the sales weekend still provides a significant lift in usual retail spending at this time of year, with Vend’s data showing a 17 per cent increase in sales on Black Friday compared to the average Friday in October and November, and a 38 per cent increase in spending.

‘Forget Black Friday, it’s now Spend-Up Saturday. For a couple of years we’ve seen Black Friday and the following Saturday lie neck-and-neck for sales and spending, but it’s clear this year that Saturday is taking over. Black Friday draws people into the stores a day later, and smaller Saturday promotions still entice them to buy,’ says Vaughan Rowsell, founder at Vend.

‘While retailers are still heavily discounting for Black Friday – our data saw a 143 per cent increase in discounting levels on Friday compared to average – this figure was slightly down on last year. Perhaps retailers are wanting to be more cautious with their promotions so close to Christmas, and shoppers are responding to this, with less ferocity than we’ve seen in previous years. With an almost 40 per cent jump in spending on Friday compared to previous weeks though there’s still definitely appetite for Black Friday promotions. It’s just gone off the boil slightly.’

Of the main centres, Leeds saw the biggest jump in Black Friday retail spending this year – increasing by 100 per cent compared to the average Friday – while London and Bristol also fared well with a rise in spending of 59 per cent and 55 per cent respectively.

Fashion and apparel retailers saw the biggest increase in spending, with a 154 per cent jump compared to an average Friday. Their discounting levels also spiked by 270 per cent. This was followed by health and beauty stores which saw a 105 per cent increase in spending, and home, lifestyle and gift stores with a 38 per cent increase. Sports, hobbies and toy stores also had a 30 per cent spending boost.

Black Friday spending increases by city

Leeds (100 per cent)
London (59 per cent)
Bristol (55 per cent)
Brighton (38 per cent)
Manchester (20 per cent)
Birmingham (19 per cent)
Edinburgh (ten per cent)
Glasgow (-11 per cent)

Further reading on Black Friday

Owen Gough, SmallBusiness UK

Owen Gough

Owen was a reporter for Bonhill Group plc writing across the and titles before moving on to be a Digital Technology reporter for the

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