Black Friday more popular than Christmas week for festive shopping

With three quarters of Brits ranking price as the most important factor in gift-buying, Black Friday week is set to be the most popular shopping week of the year

The week of “Black Friday” is set to attract one in five British shoppers this year, making it more popular than the week before Christmas for festive shopping, according to a new report.

Between November 23 and 27, shoppers are expected to flock to high street and online stores offering deals and discounts.

Amazon has already kicked off its countdown to the annual sales bonanzaby launching a pre-emptive Black Friday “deals store” online. Meanwhile, Argos has said discounts will be available every Friday between now and December 25.

With three-quarters of Brits ranking price as the most important factor in gift purchases, many will be hunting around online for the best deals – particularly those aged 25-29, the most likely group to shop during Black Friday week, according to a poll of 3,458 consumers in the UK, US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand by analytics software firm SAS.

The report found that consumer tolerance for bargain hunting is limited to a one-minute for each one per cent discount when waiting for a store to open.

This “patience ratio” drops to about 40 seconds for each per cent discount at the checkout, so long queues or not having items in stock are surefire ways to lose sales.

Black Friday shoppers wait in line at a Target department store as they seek Christmas specials in Glenview, Illinois, 25 November 2011

“Black Friday has changed market dynamics,” said Andrew Fowkes of SAS UK & Ireland. “If retailers don’t attract enough customers they lose out, if they can’t deliver on what they promise they lose out.”

Despite this, the UK is set for a prosperous Christmas, with eight out of 10 consumers planning to spend about the same or more on gifts compared to last year.

A fifth of Brits say they have a higher budget this year to indulge family and friends. The most optimistic shoppers are the 18- to 29-old-age group, with 29pc planning to spend more.

The average amount that shoppers are willing to spend on any gift is around £140. However, when it comes to treating spouses and significant others, the majority of Brits would spend around £175, while 6pc are prepared to splash out more than £400.

Perfume and cosmetics are the top Christmas gifts this year, with more than half of Britons planning such purchases. Toys and games were the second most popular choice, alongside books, music and movies. Clothes and accessories came in fourth, then food.

Just 21 per cent of Britons plan to buy their pets a gift this year, however, compared to an average of 30pc across the other countries surveyed.

Charities are also set to benefit, with a third of UK shoppers saying they are likely to make a contribution in someone’s name.

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