Persistent inflation and the climate of economic uncertainty in which Spanish households are immersed mark the start of the peak consumer season, which kicks off with a Black Friday in which families are going to scratch their pockets to spend up to 5,000 million euros taking advantage of the avalanche of promotions and offers launched by the retail sector. which augurs one of the "most aggressive" campaigns in prices. All this, in a period in which there will be a notable moderation in hiring compared to previous years due to the effects of the labor reform that has generalized the figure of the permanent discontinuous contract.

This is the general picture drawn by a multitude of reports prepared by different consultancies and research services that gauge the economic impact of Black Friday, the commercial tradition imported from the United States that is celebrated on the last Friday of November, although over the years it has been extended to cover an entire 'black week' that culminates next Monday with Cyber Monday, another American marketing term coined by Spanish trade in recent years.

A campaign that the companies with the highest turnover at this time of year face with optimism, between now and the end of Christmas. Those surveyed by EL MUNDO in different areas of mass consumption, including Amazon, Carrefour, El Corte Inglés, MediaMarkt and Mango, have good prospects thanks to succulent offers that, they hope, will bring them significant income in the coming weeks. In some cases, they even foresee double-digit increases in sales.

A survey carried out by PwC to 2,000 consumers, to which this newspaper has had access, estimates that Spaniards will spend, on average, 236 euros, 6.7% more than last year at this time. We will spend less than Europeans as a whole, who plan an average of 244 euros. And we will do it differently than other years, as inflation has changed our purchasing plans. According to PwC, eight out of ten respondents say that the escalation of the shopping basket and the rise in energy prices have hit their purchasing power and they plan to spend only what they need (33%) or buy less (17%), but buy higher quality and more durable products (15%).

Roberto Fernández Humada, Partner in Charge of Retail at PwC Spain, explains that "in light of the sharp price increases that have occurred in recent months as a result of the complex geopolitical environment in which we live, the survey shows that most consumers only buy what they need and expect deep discounts". " While consumers enjoy shopping in stores, most of the Black Friday budget is spent online," he says. Specifically, almost 60% of spending is done online.

In total, just over 5,000 million euros. This is how much households are going to spend between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, according to estimates by the OBS Business School, which projects a disbursement per family of 284 euros, compared to 210 euros in 2022, when total spending was close to 4,000 million. A significant increase of 35% projected by a resilient consumer, although, yes, more sensitive to prices and, therefore, more selective when selecting products, opting for the essentials over luxury and analysing commercial offers with a magnifying glass.

A record expenditure boosted by the inflationary escalation itself, which is expected to occur despite the complex situation that domestic economies are going through due to the rise in prices, particularly of food, as well as mortgages and energy costs. And in a context of slowing down in hiring compared to previous campaigns. The human resources company Randstad forecasts that 25,457 hires will be generated, which is a drop of 11.7% compared to last year.

The biggest slumps will occur in Castilla-La Mancha (-43.8%) and Asturias (-31.3%), while growth is expected only in the Balearic Islands (21.2%) and the Canary Islands (9.2%) and a slight upturn in Cantabria of 2.1%. The director of Randstad Research, Valentín Bote, stresses that this is the lowest level of hiring at the national level in four years and attributes the decrease to the "impact of the labor reform and the management of permanent discontinuous contracts."

Packers, forklift drivers, warehouse workers and transporters, as well as shop assistants, are the profiles most in demand by logistics and trade companies. However, the large volume of permanent discontinuous workers that exists in these sectors means that no new contracts are generated, since they are already in the call period and already have a contractual relationship with the company. This modality, which was generalized as an indefinite model by Yolanda Díaz's labor reform, implies that, when these workers return to the activity, they do not sign a new contract, so they do not appear as jobs created in the statistics. Hence the collapse in hiring that is expected for this Black Friday.

Another KPMG survey indicates that 44% of Spaniards believe they will spend more than in the same period of 2022 and 49% plan to increase their spending because prices will be higher due to inflation. And a striking fact in the current context of interest rates: 20.4% plan to apply for a consumer loan to finance their purchases. "Everything seems to indicate that this year there will be more promotions than in previous years," anticipates Enrique Porta, a partner specializing in retail at KPMG, who assures that there may be "inflation of promotions, although it will depend on the product category."

The ones with the highest turnover

From Amazon, one of the companies with the highest turnover at this time of year, they assure that their teams have been working for months on the offers so that customers can "start their Christmas shopping by taking advantage of great discounts". And they point out, based on an internal study, that eight out of ten consumers alternate purchases in both physical stores and online stores and, of these, more than 40% take advantage of special promotions such as those of these days.

MediaMarkt, which also makes a large part of the cash in this promotional campaign, has "optimistic forecasts". "We are constantly monitoring the market and we see a positive trend in Spain. Consumer confidence is recovering after concerns about inflation and the international situation in recent months," said the leading consumer electronics distribution company. For its part, Rentik, a pioneering technology leasing service, invites consumers to "not buy anything of their own and consume intelligently".

El Corte Inglés is also optimistic. In the department stores, which were pioneers in the implementation of the Black Friday commercial campaign in Spain, there are "good prospects". And in the same vein, Carrefour sources say that we are facing "one of the most aggressive campaigns in terms of price" in the history of the company, which for the first time incorporates basic foods from the shopping basket such as olive oil into its offers.

The optimism extends to the sector's employers. The National Association of Large Distribution Companies (ANGED) predicts that "discounts and special promotions will stimulate purchases" not only for these days, but also for a Christmas that extends until the January sales and that for many categories of commerce accounts for up to 30% of turnover. For its part, the consumer employers' association Aecoc anticipates "a good level of sales, especially in a context in which the market is quite at a standstill and with even double-digit falls in some categories". In other words, they hope that with Black Friday, postponed purchases will be reactivated to take advantage of the discounts.

It is also a powerful time of year for the textile sector in terms of turnover. At Tendam, the group that owns brands such as Cortefiel, Springfield and Women'secret, they view the season with "cautious optimism" and have "positive" estimates for the end of the year. Meanwhile, Mango expects to improve last year's sales by double digits" in the Christmas season as a whole. Inditex, without a doubt, will also sweep this campaign both in its physical stores and online.

  • Black Friday
  • Inflation
  • Employment
  • Amazon
  • El Corte Inglés