Numbers tell the story – Black Friday goes off the boil, but Saturday spending heats up

Data from retail software firm Vend shows that Black Friday in the UK this year was a fizzer with an 8% decrease in sales compared to last year, and a 7% decrease in spending. However, spending on Saturday was 12% higher than Black Friday, and up 2% on the same day last year. Further, Saturday spending jumped 20% compared to previous Saturdays in October and November.

Discounting levels were also 3% lower on Black Friday than last year. Overall though, Black Friday still provides a significant lift in usual retail spending at this time of year, with Vend’s data showing a 17% increase in sales on Black Friday compared to the average Friday in October and November, and a 38% 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-in-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% 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% 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% compared to the average Friday – while London and Bristol also fared well with a rise in spending of 59% and 55% respectively.

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

Black Friday spending increases by city:

  1. Leeds (100%)
  2. London (59%)
  3. Bristol (55%)
  4. Brighton (38%)
  5. Manchester (20%)
  6. Birmingham (19%)
  7. Edinburgh (10%)
  8. Glasgow (-11%)

About the data – Vend UK customer transactional data from a sample of 2,000 retailers, from 1st October – 28th November 2016 and 1st October – 28th November 2017.

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