The Gumtree Blog


Thursday 15 November 2018, by

Gumtree research highlights the unnecessary purchases people make on shopping discount days, encouraging people to think before they shop


  • 61% of shoppers feel pressured to buy something on Black Friday, up from 23% in 2017
  • 33% of people admit to buying something they already have, just because it’s cheap
  • Top 10 ‘Black Friday regrets’ include clothing, coffee machines and handbags


Embargoed for 15.11.18: Research out today reveals Brits have wasted a staggering £3.9bn* on Black Friday purchases they haven’t used or even remember buying.  These unnecessary purchases come from the fact that 61% of deal hunters feel ‘pressured’ to buy something on the discount shopping day, up from 23% in 2017, often only to find that they have a similar item at home (33%).


When bargains turn into bad buys

The study by Gumtree and Opinion Matters** found that out of the 40% of Brits who have shopped on Black Friday, 15% can’t even remember what they bought, up from 13% in 2017 – leading many people to regret their purchasing decisions. The Black Friday items Brits most regret buying include clothing, followed by coffee machines and handbags. Other items on the list include extravagant drones, faddy smoothie makers and cutting-edge smart assistants.


Brits’ Top 10 Black Friday Regrets:

  1. Clothing
  2. Coffee machine
  3. Handbags
  4. TV
  5. Tablet
  6. Drone
  7. Mobile device
  8. Smoothie maker
  9. Smart assistant (e.g. Amazon Echo)
  10. Slow cooker


Men most pressured to spend

The study found that men (65%) are more likely to feel pressured to buy something on Black Friday compared to women (58%), spending £143 each on average, compared to the £121 spent by women. Those aged between 45 and 54-years-old spend the most, forking out £146 each, followed by those aged 55+ (£143) and 35 to 44-year-olds (£135). Of those who had a Black Friday regret, just 43% returned the item back to the retailer, resulting in items left redundant across the country.


Financial expert, Jasmine Birtles, said: “Like trick-or-treating, Black Friday is another ‘tradition’ we have picked up from America, aimed at making us spend silly money on silly things. The only way to win at Black Friday is to be very clear beforehand what you want to buy for yourself, or someone else, and how much it usually costs. If you see that item in the Black Friday sale then by all means pick it up. If you don’t, then close your laptop and get on with your life. There are so many other things to think about in the run up to Christmas, don’t let yourself get distracted.”


Matt Button, Interim Head of Marketing at Gumtree, said: “Discount days are designed to get shoppers to spend on things they may not necessarily need, and being so close to Christmas, Black Friday plays into the idea that you’re saving money whilst stocking up on essential festive items. But, as our research shows, people are more likely to get caught up in a shopping frenzy, resulting in many regretting their Black Friday buys. To make sure every penny is spent wisely, plan ahead for what you really need for Christmas by using sites like Gumtree to find once-loved items local to you. From Christmas decorations to practical hosting solutions like extra chairs and tables, it’s a simple, easy and cost-effective way to keep your Christmas spend under control.”


Financial expert Jasmine Birtles offers her top tips to shopping more mindfully this Christmas:

  1. Think about what you need to buy, find out how much each item should cost and only look for those products in the sales. If they’re not on offer, stop shopping and go and do something else.
  2. Think about what will really make a difference this Christmas – and whether all the things you need, need to be new. For example, if you’re hosting friends or family over the Christmas period, you might be better off looking on an online marketplace like Gumtree for local solutions like Christmas decorations, extra chairs or party games rather than battling it out online or on the high street
  3. If there’s any possibility that you could be tempted by ‘amazing’ deals in the shops, simply avoid the high street on the big discount days. If you’re in the shop, you won’t want to stop!
  4. If you can’t keep away, find out if retailers will match prices. Some stores like John Lewis will match the price offered in other stores (though not online ones like Amazon). So challenge them if you find, say, a pair of boots in another store at 20% less. Take a photo and then see if they’ll give you the discount too.
  5. Start early. Online Black Friday deals traditionally start at the stroke of midnight, so if there is something big you’re dying to get, it’s worth staying up to make sure you get it. More often now though, retailers start their Black Friday deals a week or more before the day, so make sure you’re signed up to their emails to find out what’s on offer and when.
  6. If you’re likely to get carried away, check the returns policy. You can only return a non-faulty item for an exchange or refund if the retailer allows that in their returns policy. Legally they don’t have to if you just change your mind.
  7. Check the price, not the money off. Even if something is 70% off, if the resulting price is more than you would normally want to pay for that item, then it’s still too expensive. Be strong. Don’t be tempted by the alleged ‘savings’. It’s the end price that matters!


About the research

*66,040,200 (UK population according to 2017 ONS data) x £59.19 = £3,908,919,438

**All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from Opinion Matters. Total sample size was 2,001 UK adults aged 18+. Fieldwork was undertaken between the 5th until 8th November 2018


For more information, please contact:

Fergus Campbell

M: +44 (0) 7825 682372



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