British shoppers are expected to spend heavily on Black Friday ahead of Christmas, despite tightening household budgets.
Shoppers are set to spend more than £2.6 billion - an 8% increase on the £2.4 billion spent last year - on November 24, according to predictions by VoucherCodes and the Centre for Retail Research (CRR).
Online spending is expected to reach £1.15 billion, up 15% on 2016, with many major retailers, including Amazon, Argos, Currys and AO.com, already starting their Black Friday events.
The expected spree comes as inflation data and wage growth figures confirm a squeeze on household incomes, with the peak Christmas retail period crucial for the high street.
According to the CRR, consumers are increasingly seeing Black Friday as an online savings event, although high street figures are expected to be up 4% on last year as 9.5 million shoppers prepare to spend £1.45 billion.
Eleanor Parr, retail analyst at GlobalData, said electrical sales will likely dominate Black Friday, however, “increased cost prices will mean retailers are unable to offer the level of discounts advertised in 2016, meaning demand may waver as consumers feel less inclined to make bargain purchases on impulse."
Consumer group Which? warned shoppers against assuming that Black Friday prices are automatically the biggest discount.
"During big shopping events like Black Friday it can be easy to get overwhelmed by discounts, deals and deductions,” said Which? magazine editor-in-chief Richard Headland.
"To get the best out of Black Friday, shoppers should do their research, form a plan and stick to it."