Scotland is set to scupper expectations of a bumper Black Friday as new figures show that shoppers north of the Border will aim to spend less than last year.
The US retail phenomenon, which was set to hit today and sees shops slash the price of goods, has been growing year on year and was last year deemed to be the busiest shopping day of the year.
Data from PwC showed that this year, Scots will spend £181, down from £187.55 in 2016. However, the figure is still higher than in 2015, when the average shopper spent £57.73.
A separate report from Deloitte, however, claimed that UK-wide, online sales are “likely to easily exceed” last year’s £1.23 billion record, while predictions by VoucherCodes and the Centre for Retail Research (CRR) said that Britons are expected to spend £2.6bn on Black Friday alone – an 8 per cent increase overall on last year – and £7.8bn over the four-day period from Black Friday to Cyber Monday, up 7 per cent on last year.
Black Friday, which has existed in the US since the 1950s, marks the start of the Christmas shopping period as it falls the day after Thanksgiving, when many people have the day off work.
Previous years have seen physical fights between shoppers trying to get their hands on bargains, particularly electrical goods.
However, this year, PwC said, almost three quarters of spending in Scotland is to be carried out on a traditional PC or mobile device – while only 18 per cent intend to purchase goods in store.
Claire Reid, head of assurance of PwC in Scotland, said: “One issue for Black Friday this year is that it does fall comparatively early this year, before pay day for many consumers.
“This may present a cashflow issue for some shoppers and could result in slightly more muted growth. This may also explain why the amount Scots want to spend is down a little on last year. Next year’s figures will show better if this is the start of a trend and Scots are no longer bothering with the perceived early bargains.”
The report found that shoppers said Black Friday is more about buying things for ourselves than presents for others, with 62 per cent of consumers saying they plan to treat themselves in the sales, while only a fifth of Black Friday spending is expected to be on Christmas presents.
Mark Addley, head of restructuring for PwC in Scotland, said: “Black Friday is not yet threatening the Christmas shopping period, with our survey showing the majority of purchases made over the weekend will not be gifts.
“Therefore, the first few weeks of Christmas shopping in December will still be vital for retailers, who will need to carefully manage their stock availability, IT systems and delivery infrastructure.”