What can brands expect from Black Friday in 2022?

Black Friday is fast approaching. And despite the receding threat of Covid-19, it looks like we’re in for another year of unpredictable sales and irregular footfall.

In our Black Friday 2021 report, we found that the proportion of people who thought positively about the year’s biggest sale had already fallen to 40%, down from 49% in 2019. Disinterest and indifference towards Black Friday is increasing, and though this year we won’t be navigating the possibility of another lockdown (touch wood), there are several other factors that will directly impact the volume and nature of the purchases taking place.


So, what are UK shoppers’ biggest concerns as we head into the final quarter of 2022?

It’s a stark reality that the majority of British households are grappling with the cost-of-living crisis; 2 in 5 of us are struggling to afford our weekly groceries. After international supply shortages and the war in Ukraine, inflation is up a massive 9.9% on last year, and many shoppers are tightening their belts to afford the basics.


That means things might be a little different this Black Friday weekend.

We suspect there’ll be a multifaceted change in buyer behaviour. Last year, Covid-19 restrictions actually resulted in more spending power for a specific segment of the population. Those who were able to maintain a consistent income – while minimising their usual social expenses – built up a nest egg, and many were ready to splurge on non-essentials when Black Friday rolled around.

This year, shoppers have less cash to spare. That might mean less spending in general, but it could also see customers holding out for cheap Black Friday deals on necessary big ticket items, seizing the opportunity to replace household appliances and electronics for less. There could also be a shift towards smaller luxuries, as customers keen to reduce the cost of their Christmas shopping get organised and pick up their presents early.

Yet it’s not just the steep cost of living that’s throwing uncertainty on the sale.

Global considerations like the acceleration of climate change are also affecting what (and how much) people buy. As sustainability becomes an increasingly urgent priority, and demands for more ethical working conditions grow, high street fast fashion brands may see a drop in profits.

That said, 42% of Black Friday purchases in 2021 were made up of clothing and accessories. The question is, will this trend continue or shift in line with the reduced disposable income the public has to spend?

Be it for financial or political reasons, slow fashion retailers are also less likely to take part in Black Friday sales than national and international chains. So even eco-conscious shoppers may be forced to choose low cost and convenience over pricier products with greener credentials.


And for the final curveball… there’s the World Cup.

Due to start the Monday before Black Friday and finish the week before Christmas, it’s safe to say the World Cup in Qatar will be a hugely popular event in the UK. There are four different matches taking place on Black Friday itself, but the two most likely to tempt UK viewers away from shops is Wales vs Iran at 10am, and England vs USA at 8pm.

While the tournament probably won’t alter buyer behaviour at a deeper level, it will have the literal effect of diverting footfall away from retail parks, shopping centres and the high street towards the pub.


Just how significant will this be for retailers?

In 2022, the eCommerce presence of a brand is more central to performance than ever. Our report from last year found that 77% of shoppers made all their Black Friday purchases online, and footfall was down for the first time since records began. Could the World Cup drive an even larger proportion of these sales online? And should we expect an uptick in conversions from mobile devices, as shoppers browse while watching the coverage?

From last year’s data, we can see an increase in spend on the days either side of Black Friday, with only 52% of purchases taking place on the day itself. Most retailers are noticeably leaning into a full weekend of sales, right through to ‘Cyber Monday’, which is especially popular with digitally-native brands like ASOS and Amazon. This pattern of prolonged spending should help to bolster sales lost during World Cup games, with more opportunities for shoppers to take advantage of the deals they missed.

Football and climate change aside, the bottom line is that the British public is living through a period of intense economic hardship and uncertainty. So when retailers are gearing up for Black Friday 2022, harnessing all the available data is the best possible way to anticipate shopper behaviour, and even insulate against loss.

For more insights into evolving consumer behaviour, take a look at the full Black Friday review for 2021, and to be the first to hear about how behaviour has changed in 2022, sign up here to receive our new report in December 2022.