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Black Friday sales set to slump in second coronavirus lockdown

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Black Friday transactions are predicted to fall for the first time in a decade amid the coronavirus second lockdown restrictions, according to Nationwide.

The mutual has revised down forecasts and predicts there will be a 20% drop in transactions this year due to the ongoing Covid restrictions and people waiting till shops can re-open.

This would mark the first time year-on-year spending would drop on one of the year’s biggest shopping events which started in the UK around a decade ago.

Nationwide initially predicted that members would make nearly eight million transactions on Black Friday – a 12% increase on 2019.

However, it now forecasts customers will make around 6.5 million transactions on the day, spending around £224m, down from £247m last year.

Collectively, members are expected to spend £155,000 a minute, down from £171,000 in 2019.

Its research reveals Brits will spend an average of £172 each on Black Friday with £160 on Cyber Monday.

Nearly two thirds (63%) of people said they have delayed buying items in order to snap up a bargain on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, with half (51%) using it as a chance to get discounted Christmas presents.

With many shops closed due to the pandemic, 62% of shoppers were already planning to change how they had shopped in previous years and buy online. As well as concerns about Covid-19, the main reasons many are switching to online shopping is due to ease (47%), they can shop when they want (44%), they can use discount vouchers (35%) and many feel there is a better choice online (33%). Further, for 16%, they the requirement to wear a mask put them off shopping in-store.

However, for many, impulse buys on the day means more than a fifth of people have had to return goods bought previously on Black Friday or Cyber Monday.

Mark Nalder, head of payments at Nationwide, said: “Spending had begun to return back to normal levels in the weeks preceding the second lockdown. As a result, we were expecting Black Friday transactions to exceed last year by a margin of around 12%. However, tighter restrictions mean people are being understandably cautious and many, particularly those who enjoy getting to the shops and stores, will likely wait until stores are back open again before making their big pre-Christmas purchases meaning we expect the number of transactions to drop by up to 20% on what we had previously forecast for this year.”

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