Europe’s retailers are hoping the Black Friday discount day will get shoppers to spend, even though it comes against a backdrop of a worsening cost-of-living crisis and the distraction of soccer’s World Cup.
Retailers across Europe fear the overall Christmas shopping season could be the worst in at least a decade as shoppers dwindle while costs of doing business show no sign of abating, squeezing profit margins. .
Double-digit inflation has taken a toll on consumer purchasing power and their confidence is also at or close to the bleakest on record, as skyrocketing energy bills add to the spiraling cost of living.
But to help budget their finances, consumers started their holiday shopping earlier this year and many still seem keen to shop on Black Friday.
However, some consumers may have other priorities, with Wales, England, the Netherlands and Poland in action at the World Cup on Friday.
Brits will spend £8.7bn ($10.5bn) over the Black Friday weekend (25-28 November), according to GlobalData research for VoucherCodes – up 0.8% year-on-year, but masking a big drop in volumes once inflation is accounted for.
This year, consumers will use Black Friday, which has become more of an online event, much more to take advantage of spur-of-the-moment deals and Christmas gifts, rather than larger, delayed purchases, according to McKinsey consultants.
Their research shows that a quarter of UK consumers have already done their Christmas shopping, while one in 10 plan to do most of it on Black Friday.
Idealo, the European price comparison portal, said that 65% of Italian online shoppers are ready to buy a product during the event.
In France, 70% plan to shop on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, according to research by PwC France.
However, the Spanish are less enthusiastic, with only 24% of shoppers planning to take advantage of Black Friday deals to start their Christmas shopping, according to the Spanish Association of Consumer Goods Companies.
In the United States, the National Retail Federation (NRF) forecast holiday sales to rise at the slowest rate this year, while Amazon forecast its slowest revenue growth for any holiday period in years.
In Britain, the Black Friday shopping period is particularly important for the John Lewis department store group, consumer electricals retailers Currys and AO World, and general merchandise retailer Argos, which is part of the Sainsbury’s supermarket group. .
“We’re seeing a significant change in behavior, we’re seeing people prioritize things like household essentials…things like microwave ovens, air fryers,” Currys commercial director Ed Connolly told University radio. BBC, noting strong demand for other energy-saving products. such as heat pump dryers.
Some major retailers, including Marks & Spencer, largely avoid the event.
More than a decade since Amazon brought it to Europe, the value of Black Friday for retailers still divides opinion.
Supporters say carefully planned promotions in close collaboration with global suppliers allow retailers to increase sales and maintain profit margins.
Detractors argue that discounts reduce holiday sales with reduced profits and undermine consumers’ willingness to pay full price again before the holidays.