24 Nov 2019

Brits expected to spend big on black Friday but four in ten will return impulse buys within days

  • Nationwide members predicted to collectively spend over £125,000 a minute on Black Friday
  • Mobile Bank logins up a 20 per cent compared to regular Friday as shoppers check balances
  • Brits spend more instore than online, but average online transaction is nearly double (£48 vs £25)
  • But poll shows a fifth regret their impulse purchases and end up returning items just days later

As Brits prepare to hunt for Black Friday bargains customer data from Nationwide Building Society reveals the nation is expected to spend record amounts this year. However, consumer research from Britain's biggest building society highlights that close to one in five (19%) will return the items they buy within days.

Nationwide forecasts that 2019 will mark the biggest spend to date for its member, estimated at £180 million and equivalent to more than £125,000 a minute. This marks a six percent jump on last year's £170 million and 12 percent more than 2017's £160 million. The level of spend is set to fall just behind the last Friday and Saturday before Christmas – the busiest shopping days of the year.

Figures for Black Friday 2018 show that money is at the forefront of people's mind as they prepare for their shopping spree, with logins to the Society's mobile banking app up 20 per cent when compared to a typical Friday. These peak at 7:30am as many shoppers check their balance before snapping up an early bargain.

The data also shows that on Black Friday 2018, more than six in ten (61%) of spend was made in store. The majority of this was for smaller purchases - 63 per cent of transactions were paid for using contactless, which is subject to a £30 spend limit. However, while consumers may have bought less online, the items they did buy were on average twice as expensive with the average Nationwide member spending £48 online per transaction compared to just £25 in store.

Separate consumer research carried out by Nationwide shows that more than two fifths (22%) of Brits see the Black Friday weekend as the start of their Christmas shopping and the lure of a bargain encourages them to splash the cash with the number of transactions up 18 per cent when compared to a typical Friday.

The tendency to buy more is perhaps what sees around one in five people (19%) returning their purchases just days later Black Friday.  Younger shoppers are more than six times more likely to return items than older shoppers, with well over a third (38%) of 16-24-year-olds confessing to returning items compared to just six per cent of 45-54-year-olds.

Shoppers in Scotland and the South West were the least likely to regret a Black Friday purchase, with just 13 per cent saying they had returned items compared to 30 per cent of shoppers from Greater London and 22 per cent in the North West – the top two areas.

The top reasons for shoppers to return items was because they didn't match their expectations (32%) or because they didn't match the description on the website (28%). Close to a quarter (24%) said they regretted buying the item as they just didn't need it.

Mark Nalder, Head of Payment Strategy and Service at Nationwide Building Society, said: “The concept of Black Friday sales only arrived in the UK less than ten years ago, but it quickly became one of the busiest shopping days of the year. This year it falls right at the end of the month, which will be after most people's pay day, so we could see shoppers splashing the cash even more. Many people see the Black Friday weekend as the start of their Christmas shopping as they hold out to see which of the items from their families wish list is on offer.

“The run-up to Christmas is the peak spending period of the year and it can be easy to lose track of how much you are spending. Our mobile banking app allows our members to keep track of their spending on the go, so they can easily check their balance before splashing the cash. However, with many impulse buyers regretting their purchases, we would recommend shoppers question whether they really need or want their purchases before they reach for their cards.”