Cost of living crisis overshadows Britain’s Black Friday

LONDON: UK retailers hope the Black Friday discount day will boost shoppers’ spending, although it comes amid a worsening cost-of-living crisis and the distraction of the soccer World Cup.
According to research by GlobalData for VoucherCodes, Britons will spend £8.7 billion ($10.5 billion) over the Black Friday weekend (November 25 to 28) – an increase of 0.8% year-on-year, which it hides the huge decline in volumes. after accounting for inflation.
Consumers are cutting back on spending as rising inflation, which hit a 41-year high of 11.1% in October, eats away at disposable incomes. And they started their Christmas shopping early this year to help their financial budget.
Consumers will use Black Friday, which has become more of an online event, this year for spontaneous deals and Christmas gifts rather than for larger, delayed purchases, according to consultants. McKinsey.
Its research shows that a quarter of UK consumers have already done their Christmas shopping, with around one in 10 planning to do most of it on Black Friday.
However, some consumers may have other priorities, with both Wales and England in World Cup action on Friday.
Retailers across Europe fear that the overall Christmas trading season could be the worst in at least a decade as shoppers slump and the cost of doing business shows no sign of reducing and squeezing profit margins.
But many consumers still seem ready to shop on Black Friday. Idealo, a European price comparison portal, reported that 65% of online Italian shoppers were ready to buy during the event.
According to research by PwC France, 70% of people in France plan to shop on Black Friday and Cyber ​​Monday.
However, according to the Spanish Consumer Goods Companies Association, only 24% of shoppers plan to take advantage of Black Friday deals to start their Christmas shopping.
In the US, the National Retail Federation (NRF) predicts that holiday sales will grow more slowly this year, while Amazon is forecasting its slowest revenue growth for any holiday period in recent years.
In Britain, the Black Friday shopping period is particularly important for department store group John Lewis, consumer electronics retailers Currys and AO World, and general merchandise retailer Argos, part of supermarket group Sainsbury’s.
But some major retailers, including Marks & Spencer, have largely avoided the event.
More than a decade after it was brought to the UK by Amazon, the value of Black Friday to retailers still divides opinion.
Proponents say that carefully planned promotions in close cooperation with global suppliers allow retailers to increase sales and maintain profit margins.
Naysayers argue that markdowns eat away at Christmas sales with reduced profits and undermine consumers’ willingness to pay full price again before the festivities.