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Black Friday – what it means to small businesses and the economy

A day borrowed from the US, Black Friday is one of the biggest shopping days of the year in the UK. A day of massive discounts and one-off deals kicks off the Christmas shopping period for many consumers.

According to research carried out by Finder, consumers plan to spend an estimated £7 billion on Black Friday and Cyber Monday purchases this year alone. 62% of shoppers plan to benefit from these sales, which is up from last year’s 36%.

This year, consumers plan to spend an estimated £220 on average each over the weekend, which is a decrease on last year’s £304. Although the average spend per person has decreased, more people are planning to participate, meaning the total estimated spend will be up from last year’s £4.5 billion to £7 billion.

What does this mean to small businesses? PwC found that in 2017, more than three-quarters of UK retailers participated in some kind of promotional activity during the Black Friday period. Debenhams Chief Executive, Sergio Bucher, told the BBC that “despite heavy discounting, companies can still make a profit during Black Friday”, adding “it is one of our biggest days of the year”.

As well as seeing a surge in profits, the increase in consumer spending also supports small businesses in strengthening brand awareness, enabling them to reach new markets and audiences, supporting business growth and therefore the overall wealth of the economy.

Small businesses are also benefiting from Black Friday in other ways this year. It is expected that 1.3 million UK SMEs intend to take advantage of the savings and invest in new technology to support their business. The economy could see a £100bn boost should more businesses take advantage of innovation such as mobile technology and e-purchasing; read more in our SME productivity article.

Black Friday 2018 is already off to a strong start with UK online sales up 78% on last year’s figures by 7 am.