UK retailers look overseas for Black Friday spending boost

Published on : Saturday, November 25, 2017

Black-FridayBlack Friday is set to attract an influx of bargain-hunting tourists this weekend, as international shoppers take advantage of seasonal sales, made even more tempting by the weakened pound.



According to Worldpay, the shopping event saw spending by overseas visitors increase by a fifth last year. Day-trippers from Ireland arrived in their droves to hunt down a Black Friday bargain across the border, spending 54% more than the previous year. Visitors from further afield also went big, with spending by Chinese and US tourists up 35% and 28% respectively.



Despite reports that Black Friday has shifted online, the shopping event is worth as much as £1.35 billion to UK high streets, Worldpay’s data has revealed. London’s Oxford Street and Manchester’s Trafford Centre were last year’s top Black Friday hotspots, with shoppers spending on average a fifth more per purchase than elsewhere in the UK.



Although retailers are the traditional winners on Black Friday, Worldpay’s data found that takings in bars and restaurants were also up by 12.5% year-on-year, totaling £69.8m[5] on the day, suggesting that shoppers were combining their Black Friday spending splurge with leisure activities such as dining out.



James Frost, CMO Worldpay UK said: “Some industry commentators have suggested there could be some belt-tightening from UK shoppers over Christmas, so competition for spend is likely to be fiercer than ever. Spending by overseas shoppers represents a very small piece of the pie, but in such a competitive environment, successful targeting of these high value, high-growth customers could mean the difference between success and failure on the day.”



According to Worldpay’s Consumer Insights Team, Black Friday has grown on average 3.7% year on year since 2012, compared to 1.7% average annual growth in the 12 weeks running up to Christmas, and a 0.1% decline in annual growth in the week running up to Christmas.


Frost added: “Black Friday sales may not be growing at the rates we’ve seen in previous years, but even as it matures, sales are still outperforming the remainder of the Christmas period. That’s something that no retailer can ignore. What’s interesting is the halo effect that the day is having on other industries including the hospitality sector. Maybe next year we’ll start to see restaurants offering Black Friday specials.”

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