Many shoppers say they plan to spend less this Black Friday as the cost of living crisis bites.

Richard Baker | In Pictures | Getty’s image

Black Friday may offer a chance to haggle ahead of the festive period, but many shoppers will expect retailers to cut prices by an even larger margin this year as they tighten their belts amid a worsening cost-of-living crisis.

European shoppers plan to spend almost a fifth less during this year’s annual discount period as inflationary pressures weigh on consumer sentiment, according to research from the Boston Consulting Group this month.

UK consumers are set to cut back by the largest margin in the region, spending 18% less, while those in France and Germany both plan to reduce their spending by 15% and Spain by 13%.

US consumers were alone in surveys of nine countries, including Australia, in saying they expect to spend more this year, increasing their spending by 6%.

Retailers under pressure

The findings come as the outlook for the global economy darkens, particularly in Europe, where Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has weighed on growth and sent energy prices skyrocketing.

The UK is already in a recession, the country’s independent Office of Budgetary Responsibility confirmed last week.

That adds to the pressure on retailers, which are already struggling to recover from the Covid-19 slowdown and attract increasingly cost-conscious consumers. Meanwhile, many companies, seeking to fix shortages and supply problems from last year, have built up such heavy stockpiles that they are now under pressure to switch.

What we have seen is the spread of the Black Friday trend.

Kristi Morris

managing director of commercial solutions, Barclays Payments

“Black Friday is a watershed moment on the shopping calendar for both physical and online retailers still recovering from the Covid pandemic and now facing consumers in many markets reducing their spending plans on many non-essential items,” Jessica Distler, managing director of BCG and partners, said in the report.

That could see retailers extend their discounts throughout the month, increasing purchase opportunities for consumers who have cash to spend.

Increased risk of shopping fraud

UK transactions rose 3.8% annually in the week leading up to Black Friday, according to new data from Barclays Payments, one of the country’s leading payment processors.

Kristy Morris, managing director of commercial solutions at Barclays Payments, told CNBC Thursday that shoppers are more likely to spread out their purchases over the Christmas season.

“What we’re seeing is the spread of the Black Friday trend. We’ve seen it spreading throughout the week and even further into the month,” Morris said.

“Some of that could potentially advance some of Christmas shopping and consumers are thinking about getting smarter about how they’re going to spend Christmas,” he added.

I think Black Friday is becoming a cliché, says retail legend Mickey Drexler

However, experts have urged shoppers to exercise caution when trying to take advantage of discounts this festive period.

John Davis, director for the UK and Ireland at cybersecurity organization Sans Institute, said online hackers have been known to “warm up” during discount periods, especially when shoppers are under pressure to close a deal.

Indeed, shopping fraud rose 34% following the Black Friday and Cyber ​​Monday weekends last year, according to Barclays research.

“Cybercriminals are leveling up with attacks that are more prevalent, more sophisticated, and harder to detect than ever before,” he said.

Davis urges consumers to be extra vigilant when shopping online and avoid making hasty or panicked decisions for “fear of missing out.”

“Opportunistic hackers will try to create a false sense of urgency, so it’s important to exercise caution by staying alert to scams, trusting instincts, and building security into all of our online behavior,” he added.

Retailers are 'absolutely desperate' as the holiday shopping season begins, fmr.  said the CEO of Walmart US