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Have the January sales lost their sparkle?

  • Over 90% of Brits say they’ve fallen out of love with the January sales

  • We’re more likely to bag a bargain pre-Christmas than wait until Boxing Day

  • Brits will only get their wallets out for a discount of 30% or more

More than 90% of Britons have fallen out of love with the January sales due to the glut of deals and promotions throughout the year, research shows.

Despite expectations of packed high streets and shopping centres, the latest data from Mastercard reveals that pre-Christmas sales have now overtaken the January sales as Brits preferred time to bag a bargain. 

48% of people made cut-price purchases in the days immediately before Christmas 2016, compared to 44% buying discounted items in the January sales.

We’re also demanding better deals than ever before. Two-thirds (65%) of consumers said an item has to be reduced by more than 30% to qualify as a bargain, while more than a quarter (26%) said they wouldn’t get their wallet out unless the price of an item was slashed by more than 50%.

More than a third of shoppers (37%) admitted their expectation of price cuts is higher compared to last year.

Results from the Mastercard research suggest that we are losing interest in the key sales periods due to a combination of sales fatigue, and scepticism around pricing, as British shoppers become savvier about what they spend their money on.

More than half of people (58%) said they could not face the crowds, while over a third (37%) said they did not trust the accuracy of discounts advertised. 31% of shoppers shun the sales to avoid buying things they don’t need, 26% find the sales too stressful to bother with, and 24% said they can never find anything they really want.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday were found to be the biggest let down for consumers with 26% saying they were worse than last year, while 22% of shoppers thought the January sales were a flop compared to previous years.

An overwhelming 93% of British consumers believe there are now so many different sales during the year that the traditional promotion periods like the January sales have lost their impact.

However, the poll also reveals a generation split on the issue. Among those aged 18-34, less than one in five (18%) felt there are too many sales throughout the year, compared to 34% of those aged 34-54 and 52% of over-55s.

“The January sales appear to have lost their lustre for many shoppers, as sales fatigue has set in.” said Mark Barnett, President of Mastercard UK and Ireland.  “This situation has been heightened by pre-Christmas price cuts, together with Black Friday and Cyber Monday, they are cannibalising 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.”