Results from eDigitalResearch and IMRG’s latest consumer insight shows that attitudes toward Black Friday remain very evenly split in the run up to the one day sales event.

The survey of 2,030 online shoppers found that while 31% of shoppers either ‘like’ or ‘love’ major discount events such as Black Friday, a further 30% ‘don’t like’ or ‘hate’ them. The other 39% of respondents remain unsure at present.

In 2014 the size and scale of Black Friday took everyone by surprise, having a significant impact on the complexion of the Christmas shopping period.


Analysis shows that around 1 in 5 (20%) of respondents shopped on Black Friday last year, with the majority (55%) heading online. The latest results suggest that retailers can expect a significant upturn in shopper volumes for this year’s event with 30% ‘likely’ or ‘very likely’ to shop on the day – with 85% of previous Black Friday shoppers likely to return.

Perhaps most surprisingly, those that did venture online or in-store last Black Friday rated their overall experience as either ‘good’ (47%) or ‘very good’ (30%), despite the negative press that the shopping day attracted.

The unprecedented demand led to stories of over-crowded stores, delivery delays and slow-performing websites, yet 28% of store customers rated their experience as ‘very good’ while over half (53%) of online customers thought their experience on the day compared favourably with other online shopping experiences.

Around one quarter (24%) of Black Friday shoppers felt that they made no impulse buys during the sales day last year, especially those who shopped exclusively in-store. By comparison, just 10% believed that all their Black Friday purchases last year were done so on impulse – suggesting that retailers are again likely to see the slow-down recorded in the run up to Black Friday this year as shoppers hold back on planned purchases in the hope they might grab a bargain on them.

Kat Hounsell, sales and marketing director at eDigitalResearch, comments: “Despite the mayhem of last year’s Black Friday, it looks like more of us UK shoppers are likely to head online and in-store come November 27. Last year’s Black Friday highlighted the importance of fulfilment and logistics in the online customer journey – while over half of online shoppers felt their experience on the day rated favourably, fulfilment and service was a key sticking point for some. This year, retailers need to sit up and ensure they’re fully prepared for the onslaught that the day will likely bring. It means matching customer expectations and putting in place simple steps to help cope, such as effectively managing disgruntled customers.”

Andy Mulcahy, editor at IMRG, adds: “Black Friday caused a seismic shift in the established Christmas shopping trends last year, even for those who didn’t participate in discounting at all. It has changed the complexion of the peak period, putting a far greater emphasis on discounting, which shopper attitudes currently seem to be very evenly split on. All the indications are that it’s going to get even bigger this year, so there are some key issues that need to be addressed – such as the availability and rate of discounts on offer, the delivery promise to customers, site performance etc – as this will likely be a pivotal year in terms of shaping how Black Friday works and, crucially, how shoppers feel about it.”

The results are taken from eDigitalResearch’s and IMRG’s latest joint venture exploring all things digital consumer related. The full ‘eDigitalResearch and IMRG Consumer Commerce Report 2015’ will be available later in the year.