How to win with consumers on Black Friday 2019

Black Friday 2019 is coming! Want to know what it has in store for your brand? We asked 1000 UK consumers to tell us where they'll be shopping and how they'll be finding the best deals this November 29.

Hoping for a sales bonanza this Black Friday 2019? Wondering if your promotions will bring shoppers storming in? The annual shopping event, which this year falls on November 29, has the potential to get Christmas spending off to a flying start but how can brands be sure to get a slice of the action?

We decided to find out by checking in with 1000 British consumers who intend to shop on Black Friday. We asked them what they’ll be buying, who for, how much they’ll be spending, how they’ll be finding deals and where they’ll be shopping. The countdown is on, so let’s get straight into the results…

Black Friday 2019 participation   

Originating in the US, Black Friday has been running in the UK since Amazon imported the concept in 2010. It’s grown in scope every year since, with UK shoppers last year spending an impressive £1.23 billion. And the event now also includes Cyber Monday, which follows straight after on December 2.

The majority of Brits who will take part in Black Friday this year have participated before (more than 90%), showing how popular it’s become. The single largest percentage (31.6%) have shopped during the event twice before, while 18.6% have done so once before, and 17.6% three times. For nearly 10%, the 2019 event will be their first Black Friday.  

Describe your feelings about Black Friday this year

A third of Brits feel excited about this year’s Black Friday, while 29% are optimistic about the discounts and deals that’ll be on offer. A further 29% are taking it all in stride, stating they feel indifferent at the prospect of the upcoming event. 

It’s interesting that, while they plan to look for Black Friday promotions, 5.5% feel pessimistic about finding anything they want. Meanwhile, 5% of people are feeling nervous about the day – no doubt worried they’ll miss out on the best discounts.  

Awareness of Black Friday offers

If you want to secure the best deals this Black Friday, you have to be in the know. But how do consumers plan to find out about special offers from their favourite retailers or brands?

Where will you actively look out for Black Friday deals?

Where will you actively look out for Black Friday deals?

More than half of Brits will be keeping their eyes peeled for promotions on retail websites they visit and inside stores. This means brands can’t forget to shout about offers in their (real or virtual) shop windows. 

Nearly 40% of shoppers say they’ll also be looking out for deals on social media. As well as investing in paid advertising and retargeting, brands should get busy with non-paid posts for those people visiting their profiles in search of offers. 

Deal sites like Wowcher also play a big role in deal discovery; 37.1% intend to look for Black Friday offers on sites like these. Partnering with deal sites on discounts means sacrificing even more revenue, but the good news for brands is that they don’t have to rely on third parties. 31% of Brits plan to open emails they receive from brands in November, in case they’re offering tempting Black Friday offers. 

Black Friday wishlist

Black Friday deals tend to be dominated by consumer electronics, think phones, TVs, laptops and gadgets – although they’re not limited to them. What are shoppers most hoping to find on offer this year? 

What are the main things you want to buy on Black Friday?

What are the main things you want to buy on Black Friday?

Nearly 38% of people want to buy clothing or jewellery, perhaps wishing for discounts on luxury brands they might not normally be able to afford. Women, in particular, will be shopping for clothes or jewellery (47.1% versus 28.2% of men).

The second-largest percentage of shoppers (32.6%) are looking for deals on gadgets that don’t fall into the computer, phones or TV/audio categories. These could be kitchen gadgets, home appliances or power tools. Men are most likely to be searching for offers on these items (37.9% versus 27.4% of women).

A further 30.6% of Brits want to bag a bargain on computer consoles, computer games or toys, no doubt thinking about Christmas presents for the kids. Internet-enabled devices are only the fourth most in-demand category this Black Friday, desired by nearly 27% of shoppers. Least wanted are offers on travel or leisure, indicating that the event is still mostly associated with tangible consumer goods. 

What brand do you most want to have Black Friday deals?

When we ran this survey last year, Apple was the brand people most wanted to find a Black Friday deal on. But this year the clear favourite is Amazon, named by nearly 19% of people. That’s more than twice the 8.9% of people who are hoping for a good deal on Apple products.

What brand do you most want to have Black Friday deals?

The third most sought after brand for 2019 is Samsung, wanted by 8.3% of Brits, while Nike and Currys come in fourth and fifth (4.9% and 4.7% respectively.) Sony was also very close to making the top five, with 4.6% of shoppers hoping to get a good deal on the brand. 

Who do you plan to buy for on Black Friday?

Who do you plan to buy for on Black Friday?

Black Friday represents a great opportunity to get Christmas shopping done while saving money on gifts at the same time. In fact, in December 2018, retail sales fell below expected and economists speculated this was because Black Friday had stolen many of the Christmas shoppers

More than 26% of shoppers in Black Friday 2019 will be buying only for other people, indicating that this is a Christmas shopping activity. But nearly half will be buying for both other people and themselves. This is good news for retailers since personal purchases likely wouldn’t be made otherwise, representing additional sales. 

What’s more, a further 32.8% of Brits say they won’t be buying presents during Black Friday. Instead, they will only be shopping for themselves, which could translate into significant extra revenue for Q4. Interestingly, men are much more likely to be shopping with themselves in mind – only 18.5% will be shopping exclusively for others, versus 33.4% of women (a differential of 14.9%).

Black Friday 2019 sales 

UK shoppers spend millions of pounds over the Black Friday weekend but that’s nothing compared to the spending during China’s annual online shopping event, Singles Day. Just for the marketplace Alibaba alone, this year’s Singles Day brought in a record $38 billion in sales. That represented a 27% uptick in revenue year-on-year, but will British shoppers be splashing more cash during this year’s Black Friday?

How much are you willing to spend on Black Friday 2019?

How much are you willing to spend on Black Friday 2019?

The average person is not willing to spend massive amounts; 24.8% (the largest single percentage) say they will spend between £51-100. But nearly 18% will spend a bit more, at £101-150, and a further 16.1% will spend up to £200. One positive is that it’s only the smallest percentage of people (4.9%) who will spend the least at £1-25.

How much people said they were willing to spend on Black Friday 2018:

How much people said they were willing to spend on Black Friday 2018:

Comparing the figures to last year’s results (see above), it looks like Brits are actually planning on spending a bit less during Black Friday 2019. There has been a 7.9% rise in shoppers only prepared to spend between £26-50 (13.6% in 2019 versus 5.7% in 2018). There has also been a 4% increase in people planning to spend £50-100 and a 3.6% increase in those spending up to £25 only.

Do you anticipate spending more, the same, or less this Black Friday than you did last year?

Do you anticipate spending more, the same, or less this Black Friday than you did last year?

Despite the reduced figures, more than half of people (52%) believe they will spend the same as they did last year, and 27.5% think they will spend more. Only 9.4% think they will spend less. So either people anticipate going over their intended budget, or they’re underestimating what they spent last year.

What’s interesting to note is that it’s mostly female shoppers who think they will spend less this Black Friday; 12.2% versus only 6.5% of men. As we’ve already seen, it’s women who are most likely to use Black Friday to shop for Christmas presents, so perhaps they will be looking for smaller ticket gifts this year.

Preparing for Black Friday

Black Friday bargain hunters can be a dedicated bunch, willing to get up at the crack of dawn to queue outside their favourite shops. But how does the average British shopper plan to tackle the day? 

How will Black Friday impact on your typical day?

How will Black Friday impact on your typical day?

More than half of respondents say Black Friday won’t have an impact on their typical day, meaning they’ll restrict shopping to non-working hours and not change their schedule. With that said, there are 48.1% of people who will be making changes to their day to make room for Black Friday shopping.

Employers will be interested to learn that nearly 15% of people admit they will be shopping when they should be working. Meanwhile, Brit’s sleep is going to suffer because 13.5% are planning to get up earlier on November 29 and 12.2% are going to stay up later the night before. But only 7.1% of people are going to take time off work to go shopping. 

How will you carry out the majority of your Black Friday shopping?

How will you carry out the majority of your Black Friday shopping?

The majority of Black Friday sales will take place online; 70.2% of British shoppers will make purchases exclusively over the internet. The top device for shopping online is smartphones (32.4%), followed by laptops and PCs (25.9%), but only 11.9% will shop using tablets. The results highlight a significant difference in the preferred devices of men and women; men favour their computers (36.1% versus 15.9% of women), while women favour their phones (41.1% versus 23.3% of men).

When it comes to hitting the high street, nearly 14% of Brits will visit physical shops in search of Black Friday bargains. And 16% are planning a dual-pronged approach, visiting both real life and online stores. 

Black Friday impulse purchases

We’ve all bought things on a whim because they were in the sale (and often regretted it later). If brands want to shift stock during Black Friday and are banking on impulse purchases, how much will they have to discount?

What’s the minimum discount that would persuade you to make a purchase you weren’t sure about?

What's the minimum discount that would persuade you to make a purchase you weren't sure about?

Most people (26.2%) will be looking for a discount of at least 50% to persuade them to make a purchase they’re not sure about. But only marginally fewer people will be seduced by a 40% discount (25.7% of shoppers) or a 30% discount (25.5% of people). A further 8.3% of shoppers would be happy with just a 20% discount. 

This means retailers don’t necessarily have to stray into deep discount territory before Christmas in order to make Black Friday sales. Only 6.4% of Brits require discounts of 70% or more to persuade them to get their wallets out. That said, women drive a harder bargain than men; the largest percentage of men (30.1%) will be convinced to buy an item if it has been discounted by 30%, while the largest percentage of women (29.9%) won’t commit for anything less than a 50% discount. 

How likely are you to buy a brand you are not familiar with on Black Friday?

How likely are you to buy a brand you are not familiar with on Black Friday?

One reason people might be on the fence about a purchase is if it’s made by a brand they’re unfamiliar with. They don’t know what the quality will be like, how easy it will be to use, or (if it’s clothing) how it’s likely to fit. But what if the item is on offer during Black Friday and appears to be a great deal? Will they take a chance on it then?

According to nearly 30% of Brits, they are slightly more likely to buy a brand they’re not familiar with on Black Friday. A further 8.9% are much more likely. Only 15.4% are less likely to consider a new brand and stick to trusted favourites. For smaller brands, this means that offering attractive Black Friday deals can get them a vital foot in the door with new customers. 

A final thought 

As our results show, Black Friday is full of opportunity for UK brands and retailers. British people show huge enthusiasm for the event and are seeking deals on a range of items. While there’s concern that Black Friday simply cannibalises Christmas sales, with many people planning to shop for themselves, we can see it does offer another effective way to boost end-of-year sales.   

On the other hand, those brands offering Black Friday 2019 deals will be going up against thousands of others. An alternative option is to choose to abstain from the promotions (like these 300 clothing brands are on the basis of sustainability) and target shoppers at quieter times of the year when you’re more likely to be heard. 

To see the full survey results click here

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Bel Booker

Senior Content Writer 

Bel has a background in newspaper and magazine journalism but loves to geek-out with Attest consumer data to write in-depth reports. Inherently nosy, she's endlessly excited to pose questions to Attest's audience of 125 million global consumers. She also likes cake.

See all articles by Bel