Consumer spending for Black Friday anticipated to fall- report
17th November 2023
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Interest in consumer spending in the West Midlands has declined to 15 per cent in 2023. This pattern is mirrored across the UK with national interest dropping from 61 per cent in 2022 to 44 per cent in 2023, the lowest seen for a number of years - outside of the 2020 lockdown.

Despite the decline in interest, West Midlands high streets are set to benefit with over a third of consumers who are planning to shop this Black Friday (November 24) stating they will be going in-store or taking advantage of click & collect services.

Sarah Phillips, PwC partner and consumer markets leader for the Midlands, said: “It’s unsurprising that consumers committing to spend on Black Friday has decreased this year, with household budgets under pressure due to the cost of living crisis.

“That said, some consumers will be on the lookout for deals ahead of Christmas, with 29 per cent of West Midlands shoppers stating they are interested in the event and may buy if the right purchase is available.

“This follows our recent seasonal sentiment survey that found that 57 per cent of West Midlands consumers had already started their Christmas shopping with a view to spreading the cost of the festive period.

“Our high streets can expect to see footfall during the Black Friday events, with over a third of West Midlands consumers heading in-store to shop or collect purchases.

“This highlights the importance of retailers diversifying their offerings to include multiple channels for consumers to shop and receive their purchases, to ensure the experience is as frictionless as possible. With the early arrival of the Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market this year, and new openings such as the flagship M&S store in the Bullring, there’s plenty of reasons for consumers to visit our high streets this festive season.”

The research shows that the greatest interest is from under-45s and Black Friday shopping continues to be predominantly an online phenomenon. Even so, interest for the under-45s has dropped by between 15 and 20 percentage points. This year interest levels have also equalised between men and women, with men having been more enthusiastic Black Friday shoppers in the past.  Overall, the proportion who don't intend to buy at all has increased from 39 per cent in 2022 to 56 per cent in 2023.

Men are more likely to buy for themselves (70 per cent) with their most popular category being technology and electronics (59 per cent of male shoppers). Conversely, women are more interested in buying for the family (74 per cent) and their top categories are fashion (42 per cent), tech (40 per cent) and Christmas gifts (39 per cent).

Whilst it remains predominantly an online event in the UK (68 per cent of spending), a bigger proportion of spending is expected to be in-store this year. One in three pounds of Black Friday spending are expected to be in-store or via click and collect, compared with one in four pounds two years ago. This is driven by young people with almost half of spending by under 25s expected to be in-store or by click and collect. This echoes earlier research carried out by PwC that showed a post pandemic resurgence of young people wanting to experience shopping in real life.


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Ian Henery

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