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Shoppers Seeing Through Black Friday "Trick", Study Finds

David Murphy

REI Black Friday OptOutsideShoppers are less likely to get involved in Black Friday sales in physical stores this year, according to research from Periscope By McKinsey.

Periscope conducted research online in October to understand consumer attitudes towards Black Friday and their expected shopping patterns. The survey targeted consumers aged 18 and over in the UK and the US. The survey gathered 1,570 qualified responses.

31 per cent of US respondents said they have always disliked shopping on Black Friday, with 29 per cent saying they believe it is simply a marketing trick, with retailers manipulating pricing to convince consumers they are getting a good deal. The UK agreed, with 42 per cent of respondents saying it is a “marketing trick”.

51 per cent of US and 48 per cent of UK respondents confirmed that they have no plans to shop on Black Friday this year. Of those who will make a purchase, only 7 per cent of US and 4 per cent of UK shoppers say they will limit most of their Black Friday shopping to stores, with most preferring to shop online, or do both. 39 per cent of US and 42 per cent of UK shoppers said they plan to do the majority or all of their Black Friday shopping online, compared to 35 per cent and 33 per cent respectively in 2015.

The study also revealed that Black Friday has a new competitor, in the shape of Amazon Prime days. 9 per cent of US and 7 per cent of UK shoppers stated this global shopping event is of more interest to them than Black Friday.

“The research highlights that consumers consider the Black Friday experience stressful and inconvenient compared to shopping online,” said Channie Mize, global general manager for Retail at Periscope. “The physical store is not dead, but struggling. Retailers need to find new attractive ways to draw consumers into their stores, using data-driven insights to inform the buying, assortment and promotional activities to maximum effect across all channels, giving customers the great experience they crave.”

Somewhat surprisingly, the study found that consumers do not plan to use mobile devices extensively for their online shopping around Black Friday. Desktop devices remain dominant, with 60 per cent of US and 55 per cent of UK shoppers planning to use them this shopping season. Tablets are gaining popularity, but even so, only 29 per cent of UK consumers and 20 per cent of US consumers plan to use them to complete transactions.

The smartphone (66 per cent US and 70 per cent UK) was considered the best device for getting ideas when shopping, but lagged behind tablets and desktop devices for deeper research and making purchases.

You can download the full report here.