Average pre-Christmas discounting has already reached a record 43.8% across all retail this December, new research has found.
This is 0.2% deeper than the same month in 2018, an analysis of more than 800,000 online and in-store products by auditor Deloitte indicates. The data was recorded up to 12 December.
Deloitte said discounting could top 50% by Christmas Eve for the first time.
The auditing firm said: “Mid and end-of-season autumn sales into December, combined with a record Black Friday promotional period, has set the precedent for deepest-ever pre-Christmas discounting. Successful Black Friday promotions, which this year saw some of the highest ever sales volumes, have helped shift stock from shop floors. However, a pre-existing oversupply could see a tipping point reached imminently, as retailers discount further to shift goods.”
Current discounts on the high street range from 8% to 78%. The biggest savings are to be found in the mid-market clothing category, Deloitte’s MarkdownEdge analysis shows. Discounting is expected to increase in the final run-up to Christmas day, and some retailers are anticipated to offer up to 54% off goods from Boxing Day onwards.
Jason Gordon, lead consumer analytics partner at Deloitte, said: “Retailers have faced a challenging year, as consumer confidence has continued to fall amid macroeconomic uncertainties. In addition, the introduction of Black Friday in recent years means consumers have also come to expect an increasing amount of pre-Christmas discounting. The result is a blending of promotions, one seeping into the next, and a steady price decline rather than a steep Boxing Day drop, reminiscent of Christmases past.
“With one shopping weekend left before Christmas, this week could see a tipping point in promotions.”
UK consumers are expected to spend an average of £567 each over the festive period, according to Deloitte’s 2019 European Christmas Survey.