It used to be the biggest sale of the year. The January sale was anticipated by consumers for the breadth & depth of bargains to be had, and was very much part of the Christmas experience. Need a new settee? Wait for the January sale. New washing machine? Wait for the January sale. Over time however, its attraction has been eroded. Constantly on sales from the furniture stores, and the increasing emphasis given to Black Friday means that the January sales has lost its lustre. But does this matter?

Back at the beginning of October, Trinity McQueen conducted a piece of research that looked at shopping around Christmas. As part of this we looked to see whether the January sale still mattered to consumers. Here’s what we found out.

1. People are more positive about the January Sale than Black Friday:

We spoke to a nationally representative sample of 1,500 people and just over half (57%) said that they either loved or like the January sale. This compares positively to Black Friday where 48% said the same (a significantly lower number).

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Younger people (18-34) are particularly positive about the January sale (36% love it) whereas those at the older end of the spectrum (55+) are significantly less likely to say the same (12%).

2) People feel that the January sale is less exciting and relevant than it used to:

We asked people the extent to which they agreed with a number of statements about January sale. Here we found that more than half (61%) said that the January sale is not as exciting as it used to be, with a similar proportion (57%) saying that the January sale is less important than it used to be. For both of these statements, there are no significant differences by gender, age, or social grade, meaning that they are opinions held by the population in general.

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At the same time, 1 in 2 (53%) say that they love spending in the January sale indicating that there is a desire to spend at this time of year. This is particularly strong amongst women (57%) and younger age groups (18-34 = 66%). Combined, the results for these three statements seem to indicate that there is a desire for the January sale to be given greater prominence again, particularly in comparison to Black Friday which seems to have stolen a lot of the sales investment at this time of year.

So, what does this mean for retailers?

People seems to be saying that they want a strong sale to start immediately post-Christmas. It’s something they have been used to for a long time and have been positively attached to. They love it more than Black Friday, and they want to spend the money & vouchers they have received for Christmas. Also, unlike Black Friday that is dominated by Amazon in consumer’s minds, no retailer appears to own the January sale.

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There is therefore an opportunity for retailers to reinvigorate & own the January sale event and take advantage of the current lack of focus that seems to exist in the minds of consumers.

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