Skip to main content


Buyer’s Regret - Three in ten shoppers regret their Black Friday purchases

21st November 2023

  • Nine in ten people have overspent on Black Friday in the past, on average £511.90 more than budgeted

  • Majority of shoppers’ regret stems from never or rarely using items bought in the sales

  • Nearly one in ten have bought something in the Black Friday sales that remains unopened

  • Two thirds of consumers plan to shop in the 2023 Black Friday sales, spending more than £400 each on average

  • Shoppers can bring their finances into focus using Starling Bank’s Budget Planner

Monday 20th November 2023: The Black Friday sales are fast upon us and while nearly two thirds (62%) of consumers say they plan to take advantage of the discounts, nearly a third (29%) of people who have shopped over Black Friday in the past have regretted their purchases.

Buyer’s regret

Buyers regret arises for a number of reasons according to a survey of more than 3,000 UK adults by Starling Bank*. Two in five (38%) people believe they didn’t really need what they bought in the first place, while a quarter (24%) say that they rarely used their Black Friday purchases. Furthermore, 23% haven’t used them at all, and nearly a tenth (7%) have even bought something in the sales that they still haven’t opened a year or more later.

This lack of consideration when it comes to shopping could have a significant impact on the purse strings. Nine in ten (88%) people who have previously made purchases during the Black Friday sales have overspent on average by £511.90 more than budgeted.

Cost per use for everyday items

There are deals to be had for shoppers looking for a bargain, with items used more frequently having a better cost per use in the first year of ownership. An Amazon Fire Stick could have a cost per use of just 14p**, for example, while an electric toothbrush costs just 34p each time it is used.

Gamers can also make some good deals during the weekend, with gaming consoles working out to cost just £1.53 each time they are used (specifically; £2.33 for an Xbox Series X, or £2.59 for a PlayStation 5). Those looking to invest in fitness may want to think twice about the upfront cost of a Peloton exercise bike, as each cycle could cost £6.05 every time the machine is used.

Boost to the economy

This year, shoppers in the UK say they plan to spend £401.50 on average in the Black Friday sales, with nearly half (44%) of those intending to spend more than they have ever before on the promotions. Nearly one in ten (7%) even plan to spend £1,000 or more.

The cost of living crisis is set to be a big influence on increased spending this year. Two thirds (65%) of those planning to shop in the Black Friday sales say that with the crisis they need to make the most of the discounts, while nearly half (47%) want to get some bargains for Christmas.

Historically, technology products are by far the most common type of items people have bought during Black Friday. More than a quarter (27%) of people have used the sales to buy a new TV, a fifth (20%) to get a new iPad/tablet, 15% to purchase a laptop, 15% to buy headphones or wearable tech, and 14% to buy a games console.

The most popular items people have bought during Black Friday in the past are:

  1. Children’s toys (30%)

  2. TV (27%)

  3. iPad/other tablet (20%)

  4. Air fryer (18%)

  5. Vacuum cleaner (16%)

  6. Hair equipment e.g dryer, curler, straightener (16%)

  7. Make up (16%)

  8. Laptop (15%)

  9. Wearable tech e.g. headphones, smart watch (15%)

  10. Games console or games (14%)

Rachel Kerrone, family finance expert at Starling Bank said: “We all take pleasure in finding a great bargain. The Black Friday sales present a brilliant opportunity to save some money while stocking up on Christmas presents or to buy something you’ve had your eye on for a while. However, not all deals offer a genuine discount so do your research thoroughly. We’d also urge anyone thinking about shopping in the sales to make sure it’s something they really need and won’t regret in the future.

“Before making the most of this year’s sales, why not bring your finances into focus with Starling’s handy Budget Planner where you can fill out your income and outgoings and be more certain of your Black Friday purchases.“

Contact details

For media enquiries, please contact:

Good Relations on behalf of Starling Bank

The cost per use of some items likely to be bought in the Black Friday sales

(Based on the number of times used in the first year of ownership as identified within the consumer research):

ItemCost per use
Amazon Fire Stick£0.14
Amazon Echo (includes Alexa) 5th Gen£0.22
Nutribullet 600 Series£0.25
Nespresso Vertuo Pop Coffee Pod Machine by Krups£0.32
Apple Airpods 2nd gen£0.69
Henry Bagged Corded Cylinder Vacuum Cleaner - Red£0.87
Ninja Air Fryer Max£1.20
iPhone 14 128GB£1.99
Apple Watch series 8 with sport band£2.19
Xbox Series X£2.33
PlayStation 5£2.59
iPad Air£2.84
Dyson Air Wrap Complete Long£3.69
Peloton Bike£6.05

Notes to editors

*Research was conducted by Mortar Research among 3,605 UK adults between 9th and 13th November 2023. 

**Based on the consumer research conducted by Mortar, as well as desk research conducted in November 2023, looking at the prices of items likely to be bought in the run up to Black Friday in Argos, John Lewis and Amazon. 

***ONS annual mid-year population estimates state that there are  51,188,000 people over the age of 18 in the UK. Starling’s research suggests 62% of adults  plan to shop in the Black Friday sales this year, on average spending £401.50.

About Starling Bank

Starling Bank is an award-winning, fully-licensed and regulated bank built to give people a fairer,   smarter   and   more   human   alternative   to   the   banks   of   the   past.   It   offers   personal, business, joint, euro and dollar current accounts alongside a children’s card. Starling also provides a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) proposition through its subsidiary Engine, using the proprietary technology platform that it uses to power its own bank. Headquartered in London, the bank has offices in Cardiff, Manchester and Southampton.

Apply for a Starling bank account today and enjoy app-based banking at its best.

Start your application