Nationwide: Black Friday set to be biggest on record as Brits use sales to support Christmas spend

Black Friday

Black Friday is tipped to become the busiest on record as Nationwide Building Society predicts sales to be boosted by bargain hunters shopping early for Christmas.

Britain’s biggest building society forecasts spending on 24 November to be up by 8 per cent on last year’s peak, with Nationwide customers expected to make around 10.4 million payments this year, compared to the 9.6 million transactions in 2022.

The predicted rise in Black Friday spending, based on recent Nationwide debit and credit card spend patterns, comes as research1 conducted by Nationwide highlights that more than a third (36%) will use Black Friday sales to get cheaper Christmas presents, while 34 per cent will use the sales to help with the rising cost of living on things that they need. According to the national poll of more than 2,000 people, the average person will spend £261, with seven per cent spending more than £500.

 
 

Nationwide customers are predicted to spend more than £320 million on the day (£222,000 per minute) compared to £305 million in 2022 (£212,000 per minute) – a 5 per cent rise. Last year also marked a peak for Black Friday spending, although the increase on 2021 (£299 million) was just two percent, likely due to the residual impact of the pandemic.  

Whether or not the average transaction will be higher this year than last year (£32) remains to be seen. However, the top five purchases categories this year include: clothing (44%), fragrances (32%), shoes (28%), small electrical items (e.g. kettle or toaster: 27%) and toys and games (25%).

Nearly six in ten (58%) will fund their purchases from their current account with debit cards being the preferred way to pay, while nearly a quarter (24%) will use cash. However, many will use credit to make purchases with a third (36%) paying by credit card (36%) and 15 per cent using ‘buy now pay later’. Spreading the cost using credit can work out more expensive, although credit cards can offer greater consumer protection via Section 75.

 
 

The research shows the main places for bargain hunting are online-only retailers, like Amazon (41%), department stores, such as John Lewis (19%) and supermarkets (14%). One in ten (10%) will shop with independent local retailers.

While many see Black Friday sales as a way to get a bargain, there does appear to be a level of scepticism among shoppers. Some 22 per cent see it as a marketing gimmick and 15 per cent believe retailers put prices up before the sales in order to make deals appear better. The lure of a bargain can also lead to buyers’ remorse as nearly a quarter (23%) admit to regretting purchases they made on the day.  

Mark Nalder, Director of Payment Strategy at Nationwide Building Society said:

 
 

“The previous trend of people using the Black Friday sales as a way to spread the cost of Christmas looks set to continue, but many also use sales to purchase essential items at a cheaper price due to the ongoing cost-of-living challenges. Judging by current spending habits we are seeing; we are predicting Black Friday 2023 to be the busiest shopping day on record for our customers. With so many bargains on offer, it can be easy to impulse-buy things we don’t want, let alone need, so planning ahead is key to avoid buyer’s remorse.

“People can often through caution to the wind when it comes to spending at Christmas and many will put the cost onto credit. While using a credit card can help spread the cost and offer additional consumer protection, you should make sure you repay as much possible when the bill arrives otherwise you will end up paying for Christmas well into the new year.”

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