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Black Friday and pre-Christmas shopping plans

Posted By MediaCom, Thursday 23 November 2017

A third of Irish consumers plan to make Black Friday purchases in 2017

We’ve seen headlines of Black Friday potentially waning in other markets around the world. But Black Friday has quickly gathered momentum in Ireland and is having a powerful impact on savvy Christmas shoppers and dramatically changing shopping patterns in the festive season. 

With this in mind, media agency MediaCom conducted a survey to gauge consumers’ attitudes about Black Friday and broader Christmas 2017 spending plans.  



#1 Black Friday Plans: 33% of Irish adults plan to make a Black Friday purchase in 2017. This is up from the 24% who made a purchase in 2016. It appeals most to young females.

#2 Sheer Delight: Almost 71% of those who made a Black Friday 2015 purchase were delighted with what they bought.

#3 Not everyone buys into it: Just under a quarter of Irish shoppers agree Black Friday is an important date in the shopping calendar. But 54% say it’s not important.

#4 Most Irish people don’t budget: Just 27% consumers have a set budget planned for Christmas 2017 – a 5 percentage point decrease on 2016

#5 Average gift spend has reduced: €456 is the average spend on Christmas gifts, down from €493 in 2016

#6 High street wins out, but online is growing: On average, over a third of Christmas shopping is now done online. However, 64% is done in traditional bricks and mortar retail shops.

#7 Are we becoming thoughtless gifters? 66% of us have given cash at Christmas, 45% have re-gifted a present and 30% of 16-34s have sold an unwanted Christmas present online


A third of irish consumers plan to make black friday purchases

1 in 3 (33%) plan to make a purchase during Black Friday this year, skewing towards females and 16-34s.

Just under a quarter (24%) of Irish adults made a Black Friday purchase in 2016, up from 21% in 2015.


An important date on the calendar

23% of Irish people consider Black Friday an important day on the shopping calendar.

Consumers in Connacht / Ulster and Leinster (excl. Dublin) are most likely to find it important at 26% and 29% respectively. In 2016 we saw the importance of Black Friday skewed towards females, but it is now an even gender split.


Buyer’s remorse or rejoice?

One of the biggest criticisms of Black Friday, and indeed sales more broadly, is that consumers are often left feeling duped into buying something they wouldn’t ordinarily have bought. However, our survey results show that is isn’t the case for Irish consumers. Of the 24% of Irish consumers who made a purchase on Black Friday, 71% agreed they were delighted with what they bought, with only 5% claiming to be disappointed. However, 47% of those who bought something during a Black Friday promotion felt they would have made those purchases anyway without the discounts, meaning not all retailers necessarily need to jump on to the trend. 68% of Irish adults feel the event is a gimmick.  


Men more likely to be last minute festive shoppers

So the famous expression goes. The results of our survey shows Black Friday has a positive impact on Christmas shopping costs, with 33% of those who purchased something on Black Friday agreeing that the day makes it easier to afford particular gifts before Christmas. Our survey also found that the majority of shoppers (56%) begin buying gifts at least 2-3 months before Christmas, with women more likely than men to start shopping early. We also found that women are significantly more organised than men when purchasing Christmas gifts; with 31% leaving shopping until December compared to almost two thirds (40%) of men. Men are also more likely to leave Christmas shopping until the last minute rush, with 13% starting their shopping the week before Christmas compared to 5% of females.


Christmas budgets

Less than 1/3 (27%) of Irish consumers have a set budget for Christmas 2017 – a fact likely to ring happily in the ears of retailers across the country. In 2016, 32% of Irish consumers had set a budget. In 2017, women are more likely to budget (31% v 22% of men) and 35-54s (29%) and 55+ (27%) are also more likely than younger consumers.


€493 is the average spend on christmas presents, less than in 2016

On average, people are planning to spend less on gifts than in 2016 (€456 v €493 in 2016). Just under half (49%) plan to spend on home furnishings with an average planned expenditure of €142 compared to €129 in 2016.


Traditional retail stores win out, but over a third of christmas shopping is done online

61% of consumers’ Christmas shopping is done in traditional bricks and mortar stores, down slightly on 2016 (64%).

20% is done via international or internet-only retailer (Asos, Littlewoods, Amazon etc) (vs 19% in 2016), 15% on a store’s website (no change on 2016) and 4% on an app (+2pp on 2016). While still small, the fact that the percentage of spend on apps has doubled and is an important watch-out for ecommerce brands.  


Christmas gifting habits

8 in 10 Irish people have given a voucher as a Christmas present and two thirds have given cash (rising to 80% of 55+).

3% of 16-34s have sold an unwanted Christmas present online, compared to an average of 19%. 45% of Irish people have regifted a Christmas present, highest amongst women aged 35-54 (50%).

christmas gift habits


Sharing christmas wishes dominated by women

Sending Christmas messages or posting cards is dominated by women. 80% of Irish adults have posted a Christmas card, highest for 55+. Young women are most likely to have posted on social media about gifts they’ve received #boydonegood. In total, 20% of Irish adults have done this, but this rises to 22% of females and 30% of 16-34s.



Speaking about the survey, Ian McGrath, Managing Director of MediaCom Ireland, commented:

“I don’t believe Black Friday will reach the same heights in Ireland as it did in other markets. The reason for this is that the retailers and brands have extended the discounting period pre-Christmas now to maximise volume in this key selling period”


Survey background

This MediaCom survey was conducted amongst a nationally representative sample of 1,265 adults across the country nationwide at the end of September 2017. The study was conducted by market research agency, iReach, via their online consumer omnibus survey.


For more information, please contact Ian McGrath at or Vicky Shekleton at

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