Black Friday cannibalises traditional Christmas | KPMG | UK
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Black Friday cannibalises traditional Christmas shopping habits

Black Friday cannibalises traditional Christmas

Black Friday encourages consumers to make their purchases earlier, distorting the traditional Christmas shopping trend.


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Ahead of Black Friday 2016, KPMG highlights the impact the discount extravaganza is having on the traditional Christmas shopping period in the UK, with the sales typically noted in December now seemingly being cannibalised by the purchases being made in late November.

With Black Friday growing in popularity in the UK, it now marks a key moment in the retail calendar. Last year’s sales were record breaking, exceeding £1bn in just 24 hours and the whole weekend of activity – including Cyber Monday – netted over £3.3bn*.

Evidence of purchases being brought forward from December to November can be found with KPMG analysis of Office of National Statistics (ONS) monthly retail sales figures. The analysis reveals that in 2015, 2.6% of non-food retail sales shifted from December to November when compared to 2013.

Paul Martin, UK Head of Retail at KPMG, said:

“With the whole Black Friday weekend now marking the largest shopping weekend in the UK, it’s hard to believe that the event was only widely adopted by us back in 2013. You could also be forgiven for assuming that consumers might be spending more as a result of Black Friday, but in reality it is likely they are just spending earlier.

“As the shopping event has become more prevalent across the UK, it is clear that the traditional Christmas shopping period has been distorted by an extended trading period that now starts earlier than it used to. However, it is important to remember that British consumers have been binging on a diet of discounts for some time, so this movement can’t purely be attributed to Black Friday.

Data source: ONS: predominantly non-food retail sales including non-store sales, less fuel sales for 2013 and 2015

“For retailers, it has always been questionable whether Black Friday really benefits them in the long-run, and in the current environment of rising costs and squeezed margins – perhaps it’s even more so. This year some retailers have decided not to partake, whilst others have spread their offers out over a longer period in order to ease pressure on logistics and IT infrastructure.”


Notes to editors:

  • *Experian (Nicholas Moore), 4 December 2015: Changing retail trends – four day Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend generates more than £3billion total spend¬ - here
  • Methodology: Non-food retail sales (including non-store sales, and less fuel sales) have been analysed for November and December 2013 and 2015. Base data are non-seasonally adjusted in nominal £GBP. Analysis indicates that sales are potentially shifted from December to November, although the extent to which any growth results directly from Black Friday is not tested here. This assessment does not account for any unseen variation in the start and end dates of different periods.


For further information please contact:

Simon Wilson, KPMG Corporate Communications

T: 0207 311 6651

M: 0778 537 3397


KPMG Press Office

T: +44 (0) 207 694 8773

About KPMG

KPMG LLP, a UK limited liability partnership, operates from 22 offices across the UK with approximately 12,000 partners and staff. The UK firm recorded a revenue of £1.96 billion in the year ended September 2015. KPMG is a global network of professional firms providing Audit, Tax, and Advisory services. It operates in 155 countries and has 174,000 professionals working in member firms around the world. The independent member firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative ("KPMG International"), a Swiss entity. Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity and describes itself as such.

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