Black Friday sales predicted to deliver £362m UK retail boost

·4-min read
UK retail boost as Black Friday predicted to be biggest ever spending day
Black Friday spending will be up by nearly a third this year compared to the same day in 2019, according to Nationwide's predictions. Photo: Tolga Akmen/AFP via Getty

Black Friday 2021 is predicted to become the busiest shopping day on record, with sales exceeding pre-pandemic levels, according to new forecasts from Nationwide.

Black Friday spending will be up by nearly a third (32%) compared to the same day in 2019, according to Nationwide's predictions based on debit and credit card spend patterns.

The total spend will be around £362.6m ($484.2m), a 19% rise on last year’s spending of £305.6m.

Nationwide members will spend around £251,000 per minute, with the average transaction coming to £34.50.

The building society expects its members to make around 10.51 million payments on Black Friday this year, compared with 7.94 million transactions in 2019.

People are likely to continue their shopping sprees online into the night, with Nationwide recording 1.01 million debit card payments made overnight and into the early morning — between 12am and 9am — in 2019.

Read more: Black Friday: 9 out of 10 ‘deals’ same price or cheaper ahead of sales, Which? finds

2020 saw the first ever year-on-year drop in spending on Black Friday as the UK was in the midst of a national lockdown and COVID-19 restrictions.

More than a third (35%) of people have started their Christmas shopping already and nearly one in ten (9%) will be using Black Friday and Cyber Monday to buy gifts, according to separate Nationwide research.

Some 29% of Brits said they will spend less on Christmas in 2021, with more than half (53%) of those stating it’s because they can’t afford to spend as much this year.

However, more than one in 10 (12%) said they will spend more, with nearly half of those (48%) saying it’s because there was no family Christmas in 2020 and they want to make up for it this year. In addition,

Nearly two-fifths (38%) of those also said they will spend more money as costs are on the rise.

More than a third of Brits (36%) worry about how much they spend at Christmas, while more than a quarter (26%) say they expect to start 2022 in more debt than they started this year.

Read more: Black Friday sales to boost UK retail footfall as shoppers step out for bargain deals

Some 43% of people said they spend money each month on things they don’t really need, with the average monthly amount spent clocking in at £129.92.

Younger people are more likely to spend money on things they don’t really need, with those 64% of those aged between 25 and 34 admitting to this, compared to just 41% of 45- to 54-year-olds and 26% of over 55s.

However, concerns about climate change and the environment are having an impact on people’s spending habits with nearly a third (32%) of Brits saying they will not overspend or buy unnecessarily.

Watch: The risks of buying now and paying later

A further 14% said they will only buy products that are sustainable, while 12% will check to see the CO2 emissions created by the delivery of their parcels before making their purchases.

Close to half (45%) would pay more for an item if they knew it was made and delivered sustainably, with an average extra spend of £11.34 per item.

Mark Nalder, head of payments at Nationwide Building Society, said: "With the rising cost of living continuing to stretch family household finances, it’s important people try to spend within their means, especially as our research suggests a quarter of people are likely to start 2022 in more debt than they started this year.

“With people’s plans for last Christmas derailed and people not being able to see others, many of us understandably want to spend a little more to ensure a really good, fun time with family and friends. However, with our research suggesting more than two in five spend money each month on things they don’t need, we would always recommend people properly plan their shopping and seek out offers that provide real value for money.”