As the phenomenon of Black Friday continues to divide opinion in the Province, research has shown that more than half of Northern Ireland shoppers will be on the look out for a bargain next Friday.
Research from PwC found that 59% of consumers in Northern Ireland are either interested or plan to buy something during Black Friday.
Shoppers in the Province also plan to spend around 35% more than last year, an average of £183.
The increase in forecast spend in Northern Ireland during Black Friday is the second highest in the UK with 20% of local consumers saying they will spend up to £500 on gifts, while 24% say they’ll spend up to £3,250 during next Friday’s event.
However, the results, which come from a PwC survey that charts the opinions of consumers in Ireland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and South Africa, also show that UK consumers are increasingly cynical about Black Friday deals.
In fact, UK consumers are the least enthusiastic of all those surveyed, with just over half (52%) interested in the event compared with over 80% of those in Ireland (84%), France (81%) and South Africa (88%) either interested or planning to buy something.
Brexit made it into the national top three reasons putting people off buying in the sale, with respondents saying they’re now more financially cautious. Almost a third believe that the deals aren’t exciting, while 20% believe that deals aren’t actually genuine.
Lynne Rainey, partner at PwC NI, said: “Although Black Friday splits opinion across Northern Ireland, there’s undeniable appetite from those who enjoy bagging a bargain.
“So with shoppers’ intent to spend, there remains the challenge to stakeholders to attract them away from the one-click shop and back to the high street. It’s not only up to the shops to offer experiential retail and devise differential activities – a collaborative approach is required.
“It’s encouraging to see innovative approaches like the Belfast Coin – due to formally launch this year – which rewards positive behaviour by giving people money to use in local businesses and which could have a marked impact on the city’s economic growth.
“There are other examples across Northern Ireland of fresh thinking such as in Strabane with the Business Development Company gift-card, or in Fermanagh and South Tyrone where the council has provided free website design support to businesses launching their e-commerce platforms.
“While every high street faces a similar problem, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. It’s critical that retailers and stakeholders work together and get really creative.”