Unpacking Black Friday Shopping in the Netherlands and UK

Published Nov 29, 2022

Dirk Pieterse, Enterprise Account Director, Sales & Research EMEA at Toluna

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For the third consecutive year, Toluna conducted a study on Black Friday to tap into the minds of 500 nationally representative shoppers in each of the Netherlands and the UK. With most COVID-19-related regulations behind us, we wanted to understand how consumer behaviour has evolved on one of the biggest shopping days of the entire year. Here’s what we found.

Backlash on Black Friday?

Overall, many consumers were not excited about the holiday. In fact, of those surveyed in the UK, 39% mentioned they were not looking forward to Black Friday, and 58% said they feel that brands are using Black Friday to manipulate them. This feeling was confirmed by Black Friday shoppers in the Netherlands, as 38% feel they’re being manipulated, and 45% of the shoppers say their perception of a brand was negatively impacted by Black Friday.

In-store purchases on the rise

In the Netherlands, 56% of consumers participated in Black Friday this year—representing a five-point decrease compared to last year. However, even with the downturn in Black Friday shopping and the 5PM matchup between the Dutch and Ecuador in the FIFA World Cup, we still measured a three-point increase on in-store purchases compared to 2021 (25% to 28%). In the UK, the increase was actually six points year-over-year (22% to 28%).

Net spending on the rise year-over-year

With the rising cost of living, it should come as no surprise that Black Friday spend is on the rise in 2022. In the Netherlands, 41% of consumers reported they spent more compared to 2021, versus just 21% who say they spent less than last year. The same phenomenon holds in the UK, too. Over half (51%) of Black Friday shoppers spent more than they did in 2021, versus just 17% who spent less.

And it’s not just inflation causing the increase in spending. Shopper perceived a lack of compelling sales or discounts this year compared to 2021. In the Netherlands, 42% of Black Friday shoppers felt that this year’s discounts were less appealing than last year.

What were they spending on? Amongst Black Friday shoppers in the Netherlands, the top three most-purchased categories included clothing (44%), electronics (27%), and beauty products (26%). In the UK, the top purchases included clothing (39%), food (33%), skincare (26%), and footwear (26%).

Alternatives to Black Friday are appealing, too

Many Black Friday shoppers recognize that are other appealing alternatives to the high holiday of shopping. Green Friday, in particular, is very appealing to shoppers (46%) with its pledge to plant trees with every purchase, and has corporate participants such as Dille & Kamille, ANWB, Nomad, and many more. Other popular alternatives include:

• 46% For Future Fridays, with free repairs for lifelong value at Bever

• 44% Bring Back Friday, where Ikea purchases furniture back

• 39% Fair Friday, where TUI offers discounts on sustainable holidays

• 30% Buy Less, Demand More, where Patagonia encourages shoppers to demand better practices in the clothing industry

We also performed a deep dive on Dille & Kamille’s initiative of closing all stores on Black Friday. While many Black Friday shoppers told us they found the initiative appealing (34%), just as many find it unappealing (34%).

If you would like to view the full results of our 2022 Black Friday shopping study, please feel free to contact me at Dirk.Pieterse@Toluna.com.

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