UK Shoppers Shun January Sales At Retailers

Promotions throughout the year have resulted in Britons falling out of love with January sales, according to new data from Mastercard.

Credit company Mastercard said Monday (Jan. 16) that, while retailers had high hopes that U.K. consumers would storm the stores after the holidays to take advantage of steep discounts, the latest data shows pre-Christmas sales have overtaken sales in January as the preferred time to shop in the U.K. for deals. Mastercard said 48 percent of people got the bargains in the days right before Christmas compared to 44 percent who took advantage of January sales. What’s more, Brits want better deals, with two-thirds of consumers saying an item has to be discounted by greater than 30 percent to count as a bargain. Twenty-six percent said the item has to be discounted by greater than 50 percent to get them to purchase it, and 37 percent said their expectations about deals are higher than last year.

“The January sales appear to have lost their lustre for many shoppers, as sales fatigue has set in,” Mark Barnett, president of Mastercard U.K. and Ireland, said in a press release highlighting the results. “This situation has been heightened by pre-Christmas price cuts. Together with Black Friday and Cyber Monday, they are cannibalizing the Boxing Day and January sales. By the time the New Year discounts hit the shelves, many consumers have already had their fill of bargains.”

According to Mastercard, the research suggests consumers in the U.K. are losing interest in key sales periods because of sales fatigue, skepticism when it comes to deals and a savvier shopper when it comes to what they spend their money on. More than half, or 58 percent, said they don’t want to deal with crowds, while 37 percent said they are skeptical about the discounts retailers’ advertise. Thirty-one percent avoid sales so they don’t impulse buy, while 26 percent find it too stress-inducing.


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