Retailers beware: One third of UK shoppers have finished Christmas shopping by Black Friday

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New research from Checkout Finance provider, Divido, has found that over a third (35%) of Christmas shoppers plan to make most of their purchases between now and Black Friday weekend.

Furthermore, Gen Z, those aged 18 – 24, (32%) and Millennials, those aged 25 to 34, (43%) are more likely to do their shopping between now and black Friday compared to nearly half of boomers, categorised in this survey as those aged 55 – 64, (49%) who are more likely to do this between the 1st – 16th December.

The research indicates a clear shift in when consumers are looking to purchase their Christmas items, skipping typical sales periods in favour of spreading the cost of purchases over a longer period of time. 

Research from Which? found that 98% of products that were on sale on Black Friday in 2021 were actually cheaper or the same price during other points in the year. They also found that 86% of the items had also been the same price or cheaper in the six months before Black Friday. Retailers often invest a lot of money into curating the perfect deals for these peak sales periods when in fact consumers are shopping before then.

Todd Latham, CEO, Divido comments: “Consumers are increasingly cautious of snapping up Black Friday Deals and this shift in consumer shopping preferences is something retailers need to take note of. Retailers could reconsider when they have sale periods to capture the audiences in the last three months of the year. Brands like Amazon are already doing this, by recently introducing a second Prime Day for a last-minute boost in revenue. 

“As many consumers look to spread the cost of purchases, Black Friday may just be losing its sparkle, and retailers need to cater their retail experience, from product to purchase, to meet a new breed of shopper that is more cost conscious than ever before.”

How are consumers spending their money?

Debit cards remains the primary method of payment for Christmas purchases as 41% will be choosing to do so this way. In fact, credit cards are the fourth most popular payment method (13%) after cash (18%), and 16% plan to use their savings to finance Christmas purchases. Millennials (45%) are more likely to pay with debit card than Gen Z (42%) and boomers (39%). Further to this, three in 10 (30%) 25-34 year olds ranked checkout finance as one of their top three ways to pay this Christmas.

This year in the run up to Christmas, consumers are planning to spend the most on presents at an average of £366.37. One fifth (20%) plan to spend £200 - £300 on presents while 13% will spend as much as £300 - £400. 

However, expenditure for Christmas goes beyond just the presents. 32% are planning to spend £100 - £200 on food and beverage and people are planning to spend up to £100 on decorations (60%), travel or hosting (35%), and entertainment (44%) 

Our research also highlighted that people would spend on average £50 - £100 more if they were able to use checkout finance products (like BNPL) and pay off in 2024. This includes food and beverages (11%), decorations (10%), travel (8%), hosting (10%), entertainment (10%), presents (13%). 

Latham continues: “Checkout finance is an opportunity for retailers to increase revenue, whilst simultaneously building customer loyalty and support customers through spending during this time of year in a cost-effective way. 

“As consumers continue to shift when they start purchasing for the Christmas period, its essential that a flexible payment method is paired with this to meet the needs of today’s consumer.” 

Methodology

Divido commissioned a survey of 2,000 UK adults aged 18+ in August 2023. The survey was built using a representative sample of the UK population using the latest census data, ensuring respondents were chosen from representative percentages of the population according to age, gender, geographical regions, household income, family size, employment type and sector, professional qualifications and education level.

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