Boxing Day bounceback predicted by PwC

UK shoppers are set to capitalise on Boxing Day sales, predicts a new report.

According to researcher PwC’s Promotions tracker, the traditional ‘twin peaks’ promotional trading pattern is set to make a return this year, with a stronger focus on Boxing Day sales to make up for a less active Black Friday.

The firm noted that 76% of tracked retailers took part in Black Friday promotions. This represented a 4% increase from 2021, but is lower than the 90% that took part amidst lockdown uncertainty around Black Friday in 2020.

This year also saw retailers be less generous with their Black Friday discounts, with 21% of tracked retailers offering ‘blanket’ promotions. This was down from a peak of 36% in 2020 and a total of 26% in 2021.

To make up for this, PwC predicts that many retailers will lean more heavily into post-Christmas promotions as retailers look to clear out their winter stock.

Kien Tan, PwC retail director, said: “This year, retailers have, on the whole, tried to avoid excess discounting in order to take advantage of the increased consumer interest in the Black Friday sales as predicted in our survey last month, when we forecast an additional £500 million would be spent during the event.

“As a result, retailers are expected to reward patient shoppers with larger than normal discounts as they clear seasonal stock in the Boxing Day sales ahead of what may prove to be a challenging 2023.”

Commenting on the report, Lisa Hooker, UK consumer markets leader, said: “We are already starting to see from mid-December, promotional levels creeping up versus this time last year which maybe suggests some overstocking. So will retailers participate in Boxing Day promotions with greater gusto than in previous years and with deeper reductions or even start such sales in the week before Christmas as they suddenly realise the threat of excess stock?

“For the few who leave the Christmas shopping to the week of Christmas, they may grab an unexpected bargain. Retailers will be keen to not start 2023 with too much stock due to the worry that inflation will leave a credit card hangover for some shoppers!

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