High street could miss Black Friday rush with 85% of consumers set to shop online

With lockdown restrictions seemingly implemented and changed every few weeks, high street businesses have been at the receiving end of the COVID pandemic, and this situation is unlikely to change any time soon, as shoppers look to embrace online shopping during Black Friday sales.

According to new research published by money.co.uk, 77% of UK adults are planning to bag deals during this year’s Black Friday fire sale. And of this number, some 85% said they be shopping either exclusively or partially online.

Compare that to just 0.3% who said they’d be shopping exclusively in-store, and you might get some idea why many high street shops are currently fearing for their survival. Having missed much of first half trading, it now looks as though the accelerated shift to online shopping will hamper the high street’s performance during the run-up to Christmas.

Also, with the furlough scheme soon coming to an end, and the ensuing rise in unemployment to follow, opportunities such as Black Friday will be be prime windows of activity for cash-strapped Brits to bag cut-price gifts for their loved ones over the festive period.

While many concerns are a consideration for many, around 40% of those surveyed say they expect to spend between £200 and £300 more this year than in previous years during the Black Friday weekend, while 1 in 10 say they expect to spend £500 more.

Further, 15% say they plan to spend a whopping £600 to £2,000 pounds more than previous years during this year’s Black Friday event. With these kind of emphatic shifts in consumer behaviour, missing out won’t just harm the balance sheets of high street shops, but could see online outlets rake in record sums, to reinvest and build up an unassailable advantage.

According to money.co.uk’s research, here are the top product sectors on shoppers’ wishlists:

1. Clothes (49%)

2. Beauty & grooming products (34%)

3. Household items (29%)

3. Videogames console and games (29%)

4. Smart TV (25%)

5. Home Furnishings (24%)

6. Smartphone (23%)

7. Jewellery (20%)

8. Amazon Echo Device (19%)

9. Music System (18%)

9. Furniture (18%)

10. White goods (17%)

With just one in ten shoppers set to opt for a cash-fuelled Black Friday spree, and the number of buy now, pay later users rising to 5% of shoppers, money.co.uk’s personal finance expert, Salman Haqqi, told shoppers how to make the most of purchases during the sales period:

“For added protection on Black Friday and Cyber Monday purchases, online or in-store, consider using your credit card.”

“Under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974, if you pay for an item using your credit card, then you have rights to claim a refund from your credit card provider as well as the seller if something goes wrong.”

“This extra protection applies when you buy an item that costs between £100 and £30,000 and means if the seller goes bust or fails to deliver your item you can approach your credit card company to get your money back.”

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Senior Journalist at the UK Investor Magazine. Also a contributing writer at the Investment Observer, UK Property Journal and UK Startup Magazine. Postgraduate of King's College London with a specialisation in Business Ethics. Interested in Development Economics and David Hume.