Four in five consumers 'planning Black Friday spend' says PwC

Black Friday shoppers in Belfast. Picture: Mal McCann

DESPITE having lower levels of disposable income and less flexibility in their households budgets than in other parts of the UK, Northern Ireland consumers plan to hit the shops this Black Friday - but mightn't necessarily buy anything.

Business advisers PwC's annual Black Friday research, which gives a glimpse of how shoppers are kicking off the festive rush for retail, found that two thirds (67 per cent) of consumers in Northern Ireland are interested in picking up a deal compared to just 37 per cent in the UK as a whole.

But just 15 per cent of shoppers in the north say they will definitely buy something, compared to a UK average of 24 per cent.

PwC’s research - which sampled 2,000 people including 94 in Northern Ireland - also found that almost half of under 35s in the UK will definitely spend (48 per cent), and interest from male shoppers sits 10 per cent higher than than females.

Among men, 29 per cent plan to definitely purchase with 34 per cent interested opposed to 19 per cent of women definitely spending and 35 per cent interested.

Interest in Black Friday is highest amongst under 25s with nine out of 10 Gen Zers saying they’ll be looking for a bargain, and three-quarters of them planning to buy a treat for themselves.

David Armstrong, economist and consulting partner at PwC Northern Ireland, said: “Our analysis shows that households here have, on average, lower levels of disposable income and less flexibility in their households budgets than in other parts of the UK, due to lower wages and rising inflation. As a result, they typically have less discretionary spending.

“So it makes sense that Northern Ireland consumers are the most interested across the UK in shopping for deals over the Black Friday period, although fewer will definitely buy something. Consumers want a bargain, but with money tight, it's got to be the right deal.

“Many will be keen to take advantage of bargains offered by Black Friday, purchasing bigger ticket items, like electricals, and trying to spread the cost of Christmas over a longer time period.”

Cara Haffey, partner and private business leader for PwC Northern Ireland, added: “We anticipate many retailers will see Black Friday as an opportunity to engage with their customers, clear excess stock, and offer value for money, so we are expecting the usual ramp-up in sales and discounts as we approach the end of November.

“For Belfast in particular, it will be a great opportunity to encourage people into the city centre to take advantage of the promotions as well as the momentum created by the recent reopening of The Bank Buildings.

“There is a real buzz in the city and retailers will hope this pays off in terms of high street sales. Across Northern Ireland high street and shopping centre retailers will be vying for footfall as shoppers kick off this post-pandemic spending period.”

PwC estimates the average spend per consumer to be around £238 which will add £0.5billion extra to the retail economy this year taking the overall spend on Black Friday bargains to £7.5billion.

Shoppers will predominantly be shopping for electricals (51 per cent), fashion (32 per cent) and Christmas stocking fillers (28 per cent). Interest in homewares (25 per cent) and beauty (24 per cent) have increased slightly from 2021.

Shoppers are also showing a renewed interest in shopping in store for a bargain rather than online, with 19 per cent planning to hit the high street and 12 per cent planning to click & collect - a 2 per cent increase in both arenas from 2021. Some 69 per cent plan to shop online - a 4 per cent decrease from 2021.