Ingenico warns retailers of “growing consumer discount scepticism”

Retailers will soon be preparing for what’s tipped to be the UK’s biggest ever online spending splurge: Black Friday 2018.

In 2017, consumers spent a huge 515% more online on Black Friday than the average Friday, according to payment data from Ingenico, with the Wednesday through to Monday recorded as the six busiest shopping days of the year.

But despite its evident popularity, a survey of 600+ UK consumers has revealed a deep-rooted scepticism of how much shoppers really save. 55% believe the discounts are false and even among those who actively shop on Black Friday, 40% believe they are being misled.

Why such a disconnect between attitudes and behaviours?

“Although many consumers may vocalise their concerns on the discounts, they’re not totally convinced and fear of missing out tends to kick in,” said Marc Birkner, Managing Director of Small & Medium Businesses, Ingenico.

“We’ve seen that Black Friday checkout abandonment is a third lower than the average day as customers rush to snap up the deals.”

However, while some act on impulse, almost two-thirds of Black Friday customers report actively researching prices before the seasonal sales. The majority prefer to shop via their laptops, suggesting a systematic, calculated process, rather than idle mobile browsing.

Most consumers clearly feel that, despite suspicions, significant discounts can be found with a little forward planning. To test how valuable the discounts really are, Ingenico commissioned well-known budgeting expert and blogger, Money Saving Girl AKA Martyna Sroka-Lalewicz. Sroka-Lalewicz found that had she spent £3,600 on Black Friday at five major retailers, the same items would have cost 30% more two weeks later.

“Dispelling the ‘dodgy discount’ myth will be key to taking Black Friday campaigns up a gear,” said Birkner.

“While the savviest of shoppers may be able to find comparable deals at other times in the year, the Black Friday week is a great option for those seeking value, choice and sound timing ahead of Christmas. For retailers, clear and open communication on the discount value needs to be a top priority in 2018.”

The seasonal sales also present an opportunity to establish an online presence and build a customer base. While brand loyalty to high street retailers remains high, 38% of consumers will buy anywhere they see an enticing deal; this presents a good opportunity for small businesses to establish brand presence this Christmas.

“Our research shows that although seasonal discount scepticism is rife, the popularity of Black Friday is huge and many consumers deploy a surprisingly systematic process for researching prices and snapping up bargains”, Birkner told PaymentEye.

“A significant proportion will shop anywhere they see an enticing deal, so for smaller retailers, that presents an opportunity to build brand awareness with ‘headline discounts’. Further opportunities can be found across Europe, where the Black Friday spending surge far exceeds that of the US.”

The same principal applies for retailers looking to overseas markets; Europe’s Black Friday spending surge was three times that of the US’s in 2017. Tailoring the customer journey to match local shopping preferences is key to success, particularly when it comes to payment. Offering a simple, familiar checkout in the customer’s own language and currency will be key to building trust and boosting conversion.

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