Disgruntled UK shoppers have blasted Black Friday deals, despite coming out in full force for one of the biggest shopping events of the year.
Data suggest that Black Friday shoppers has been buying more items but had been spending less overall, according to Barclay Card.
The payment services provider, which processes half of all UK card payments said that by 3pm it had seen 10% more transactions from a year earlier, but that the value of spending was down 12% on last year.
Shoppers on Oxford Street in central London on Friday as Britons continued their spending spree into the evening. However footfall fell in some shopping centres with many customers choosing to find bargains online instead
Shoppers grouped outside of stores on Friday evening after claiming their purchases
Oxford Street was packed all day on Friday and the pavements were full of shoppers
Further data suggested a continuing trend for Black Friday bargain hunting to be done online rather than on the High Street.
It seems that some retailers across the UK had somewhat over prepared for the event, with some social media users having joked that there were more staff than customers in preparation for the event.
One user ‘@jokesUK’ said: ‘I went to buy a new laptop from Currys in the Black Friday sales and I couldn’t believe how many assistants they had wandering around eager to help the dozens of customers… Two! ‘
Customers joked that there had been more staff than customers in stores across the UK
Some suggested that the UK hadn’t been able to live up to other places which participate in the event
Social media users may have been poking fun at the retailers preparing for the event, however Amazon had taken the event seriously and had hired an extra 20,000 seasonal workers globally in order to prepare.
The firm’s regional operations director for the UK Jonatan Gal, said on Friday that the company spends all year preparing for the event.
‘The company prepares all year long to ensure operations run smoothly when the shopping season kicks off.
Other consumers said that a lot of the products being sold were just being ‘offloaded’ to shoppers’
‘We know our customer wants to get the product faster and faster,’ he told CNBC.
Elsewhere, dissapointed shoppers complained that the deals in the UK were nothing like the ones on offer in similar sales across the US and Canada, ‘@Coco’ said: ‘Seeing all the American Black Friday deals makes me sad. Some of the savings are WILD compared to the UK.’
This is while ‘@suzanne’ said the deals being offered were ‘rubbish’.
‘Black Friday in the UK is so stupid, walk in tesco and it will be like ‘was £200’ ‘Now £194.99’ .
Some poked fun of the quality of deals which were being offered at various retailers
Another user ‘YT Smile it’s destiny’, suggested that if UK retailers didn’t step up to the mark, then they shouldn’t do Black Friday at all.
‘UK stores need to actually stop begging this Black Friday ting. Either do it with your chest or stick to your own national holidays.’
Others agreed and ‘Ho hum’ said: ‘Here in UK we rarely see a bandwagon roll by that we don’t try to jump on, but if you’re going to do it, then get it right. A fifteen percent discount on ‘most items’ is not ‘Black Friday’, it’s a ‘trying-to-offload-last-year’s-overpriced-s**** Friday’… and nobody’s buying it.’
One user said that Black Friday in the UK was ‘stupid’ and that the deals were not really discounted
Other shoppers were more blatant with their complaints, with one simply saying that the UK’s Black Friday was s***.
Data from PWC suggested that interest in Black Friday has waned, as some retailers chose not to participate at all, with three quarters of over 55s either not interested or avoiding the event altogether.
Northern Ireland is the top regional hotspot interested in Black Friday/Cyber Monday, closely followed by those in London. Those least interested live in the East of England – 61% there say they are not interested. Then it’s the residents of the South West at 60%.
Shoppers battle to find the best deals at the Bullring shopping centre in Birmingham, which had a slow start to the day before business picked up later in the morning
The survey by PWC suggested that UK shoppers intended to spend £234 over the Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend – interestingly the same as last year.
The biggest spenders were expected to be men, who planned to spend £60 per head more than the average woman.
Meanwhile 25-34s are the biggest spending age group, with a £278 planned spend per head, up by 17% over the last year.
Some social media users said that shoppers would be purchasing items that they had no use for
This is while 18-24 year olds may be the most interested age group, despite their low budgets. The demographic has been the most squeezed this year, with their planned spend falling 20% to £181.
Almost three quarters of those planning to spend less this year say that it’s because they’re just being more cautious about their spending, with 44% also citing Brexit-driven concern.
During the event on Friday, websites including John Lewis crashed under the demand while Amazon reported that 100,000 toys and 60,000 beauty items had been sold by mid-morning.
Another user ‘Coc’ complained that the UK version of Black Friday made her ‘sad’
Meanwhile Currys PC World said it had seen three orders per second, with best selling items including the Nintendo Switch games console.
In the shopping frenzy Barclaycard processed a record 1,087 transactions per second between 1pm and 2pm, breaking the previous record of 1,056 set the previous hour.
But while some shoppers braved near-freezing conditions on Friday morning and others sought discounts late in the evening in Oxford Street, footfall was down seven per cent compared to last year.
Some decided to brave the near-freezing conditions to get to the front of queues outside stores in a bid to beat others to the biggest discounts, before business picked up at shopping centres by the afternoon (shown, Oxford Street)
The drop came as a YouGov survey found almost one in five millennials admit to ‘ghost buying’ on Black Friday, whereby they visit shops to view a product before purchasing it online while still stood in the store.
Barclaycard reported a 16 per cent increase in the number of payment transactions compared to Black Friday last year, but a 21 per cent drop in the amount spent.
Spending on mobile s dominated the morning frenzy, with such devices accounting for 75 per cent of all traffic as commuters made their way into work.
Black Friday shoppers in Glasgow, Scotland, making the most of deals although many will shop online or on their mobile phones rather than visit the high street, forecasters said
Desktop spending peaked between 9am and 10am as people began browsing from their desks.
However many shoppers chose the comfort of shopping from their own homes or work desks, with online transactions up by nearly half compared to last year as of 1pm .
Footfall was down seven per cent at 1pm on Friday compared to last year, according to the editor of Retail Week. Shopping centres have taken the worst hit, with a drop of 9.1 per cent.
Shoppers in Birmingham browse the deals as a survey finds that almost one in five millennials admit to ‘ghost buying’ on Black Friday, whereby they visit shops in the city centre to view a product before purchasing it online
Following from the launch of its Black Friday deals , Currys PC World has seen three orders per second, with the Nintendo Switch and Samsung Galaxy Tab A its best-selling items.
The firm said it had seen a 623 per cent increase in computing sales on 2017’s figures, and 61 per cent of their online purchases were made via mobile devices.
Carphone Warehouse said it received 14 orders per minute on its site, with the Samsung Galaxy S9 and Apple iPhone XR being the most popular items.
Bargain-hungry Brits have ditched the high street (such as Manchester, pictured) for online shopping this morning as Black Friday deals saw customers splurge millions of pounds on the internet
John Lewis said it received the bulk of its traffic between 6am and 7am, with shoppers keen to get their hands on reduced goods such as the Apple Airpods and the Applewatch series 3.
This is while an investigation by consumer group Which? found nine out of 10 Black Friday deals they investigated could be purchased for the same, or a cheaper price, at different times of the year.
Committed bargain hunters flocked to the technology aisle of Tesco on Friday morning to snap up Xboxes – but had to battle because only six were left.
Crowds finally begin to pack out the Bullring shopping centre in Birmingham this afternoon, following a slow start to proceedings as many shoppers decided to go online to find a deal
Shoppers queued up at 5am outside the store in Kingston Park, Newcastle, to get the best Black Friday deals.
Other offers throughout the store did not receive the same frenzied treatment and aisles filled with deals on items such as luggage were left largely empty.
Bargain hunters seemed to be able to browse and place items such as televisions in their trolleys with relative ease – a different scene from previous Black Fridays which have seen shoppers come to blows.
Shoppers (such as those pictured on Oxford Street, London) will splurge somewhere in the region of £2.5billion today, on what is the biggest day of the year for most retailers
One onlooker said: ‘Almost all of the people bypassed the flagged up deals and headed straight for the Xbox section. There was some frantic grabbing for the Xbox deals.
‘Overall though, everyone was quite polite, there was no scrapping and people were milling around looking at the other offers.’
Some of the best deals had already sold out before much of the UK had even woken up this morning, with retailers starting their offers overnight.
A couple cannot hide their glee after securing a 49 inch TV at a Tesco in Newcastle. Britons are predicted to spend £2.44billion in the Black Friday sales today, as shoppers battle it for cut-price TVs and electrical goods
However, consumer group Which? said its over-arching message to shoppers this year was to not feel pressured into spending after finding that nine in 10 Black Friday deals last year were the same price or even cheaper at other times of the year.
It has urged consumers to be careful not to buy on impulse and instead research products and prices before spending in the sale.
Alex Neill, Which? managing director of home products and services, said: ‘While retailers are bombarding us with promises of great discounts and time-limited sales, it’s clear that not all deals are as good as they might appear.
‘To bag a bargain, do your research and don’t get carried away by the hype when shopping in the upcoming sales.’
Early indications suggested that Black Friday spending would dip for the first time this year since its arrival in the UK.
Consumers will spend £2.4billion on deals in stores and online, down from last year’s £2.6billion, according to the predictions from the Centre for Retail Research (CRR) and VoucherCodes.co.uk.
Shoppers are taking advantage of the annual Black Friday sales early this morning, with this couple pictured walking out of the Tesco Extra store in Gorton, Manchester
Analyst Springboard has also said footfall and spending activity over this year’s Black Friday period is likely to be affected by economic pressures such as high debt levels and significant living costs, compounded by the event taking place a week earlier this year – before many consumers are paid for the month.
According to KPMG’s study, the promotional period is favoured by younger consumers, with 75 per cent of shoppers aged 18 to 24 saying they will be taking advantage of deals compared to 36 per cent of 45 to 54 year olds, and just 24 per cent of over 55s.
Mr Martin added: ‘Many shoppers are likely to recall how the slashed pricing in store resulted in stampedes, which is just not what mature consumers seek out.
Thousands braved the near-freezing conditions overnight to queue outside stores up and down the country, including Tesco in Newcastle, to beat other shoppers to the biggest discounts
‘Since Black Friday was adopted by Britons back in 2013, retailers have increasingly moved offers online, and that coincidentally is where a higher proportion of younger consumers can be found.’
Meanwhile, an investigation by consumer group Which? found nine out of 10 Black Friday deals they investigated could be purchased for the same, or a cheaper price, at different times of the year.
Cyber security chiefs at GCHQ have also advised shoppers to be wary of risks and to take precautions when buying online, such as using the guest checkout and having a separate ‘super-protected’ password for your email account.
Eager bargain hunters wait in the near-freezing conditions in Gorton, Manchester for Tesco Extra to open ahead of a busy day of Black Friday madness
Despite the usual buzz around the shopping event, research also suggested shoppers’ interest in Black Friday may be plateauing.
Almost two-thirds of the 2,000 UK adults polled by technology provider Aptos said they ‘don’t wait for deal days’ to make purchases, with more than half saying they ‘don’t trust retailers’ to provide the best deals.
Retailer group The New West End Company, which represents three key shopping streets in central London, predicted the same turnover as 2017, £150 million, across the 2018 Black Friday weekend.
WhatsApp scam tricks people looking for deals
Despite warnings from cyber security officials in the run up to Black Friday, fraudsters have managed to target some bargain hungry Brits with a new scam on WhatsApp.
Sacammers used the popular messaging app to spread fake links to vouchers for supermarkets and other retailers.
Some messages even encouraged users to share the link with 10 people or more in order to receive the offer.
But the deal is not real and the message is intended only to make sure the link gets shared around – and then trick people into clicking it, exposing people to malware and other attacks.
Generally, internet shopping accounts for just under 20 per cent of retail spending, however it soars to more than 40 per cent for Black Friday and through the weekend to Cyber Monday
John Lewis is running its own deals across the store, as well as price matching reductions made by rivals, and eBay expects around 100million visits to its UK site over the next four days.
Gap is being particularly aggressive with a blanket reduction of 40 per cent plus a bonus saving of an extra 25 per cent off anything that is already in its sale.
The traditional Black Friday rush wasn’t felt everywhere, however (pictured is Bluewater shopping centre in Kent). Forecasters predicted a dip in sales in stores with big profits being made online this year