A Perfect Storm Brewing for Black Friday

Written by Guy Schindler 29 September 2023
With Black Friday drawing ever closer, a perfect storm of contextual factors is set to give 2023 greater significance and unparalleled opportunity for non-essential products. The repressed shopping habits inflicted on consumers by the cost-of-living crisis have made Black Friday the perfect release point as Christmas demand grows.

Rising costs are an ally for Black Friday as the lure of promotions has never been more powerful. Discounts are made to seem more extreme in comparison to the inflated regular pricing, increasing the appeal and adding a degree of urgency to avoid missing out. Against a bleak background, Black Friday is a beacon for frustrated shoppers.

Black Friday has already demonstrated its resilience and ability to attract consumers during periods of economic uncertainty with the UK spending £8.7 billion over the course of Black Friday in 2022 despite the nation beginning to feel the pinch of rising costs. The promotion continues to attract a growing audience, with an extra one million UK consumers flocking to shops in 2022 compared to 2020.

After a further 12 months of spending restraint, UK consumers are a powder keg for which Black Friday is perfectly placed to provide the spark. 2023 looks set to appeal to an even larger audience, particularly amongst the 88% of consumers who are not financially immune to rising costs and look to maintain their regular Christmas output on a reduced budget. This could even result in consumers concentrating a larger proportion of their Christmas shopping on this promotion than in previous years to take full advantage. Not only are growing numbers of consumers expected to participate in Black Friday, but they also have the potential to spend more in a bid to reduce their overall Christmas costs.

What’s more, the urge to treat oneself to non-essential items transcends economic climates, with 67% of consumers doing so consistently over the last three turbulent years. Given the enhanced financial wariness and planning over the last year, Black Friday could be the moment shoppers have been waiting for to get their retail fix.

The fabled Golden Quarter has already set off with a running start, with the Office for National Statistics reporting a 0.4% rise in retail sales in August following a 1.1% fall in July. Could this signify a turning point which will bring added confidence, willingness, and ability for consumers to spend big on Black Friday?

Brands looking to capitalise on this perfect storm should have Black Friday at the core of their current marketing strategy. The urge to drive consumers straight to purchase could be detrimental as some shoppers are not currently in the market, instead, they are planning their own Black Friday strategy, including the brands they will be hunting for.

Campaigns with a strong call-to-action focusing on brand awareness and acquisition, such as the collection of first-party data to allow brands to inform consumers of the best deals when the time comes, may prove more fruitful in the long run. Brands should look to build affiliation with consumers and provide them with positive product experiences which will place them at the forefront of shoppers’ minds and the top of their Black Friday lists.

Source: GB TGI-2023 – © Kantar Media

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