Retailers saw “steady” trade on Black Friday as companies feared price hikes and the cost-of-living crisis would keep shoppers away.
Barclaycard Payments said sales volumes were consistent with what it saw on Black Friday last year.
As of 1pm, the credit card company, which processes £1 for every £3 spent in the UK, said transaction volumes were up 0.7% year on year.
Barclaycard said this included quick sales around lunchtime, with the company reporting a record number of transactions per second between 12pm and 1pm.
It comes after warnings that the shopping day could be muted due to pressure on consumers’ bills.
Currys said soaring home energy bills have helped boost sales of energy-efficient products like air fryers and heat-pump dryers.
Experts said sales were also higher in the week leading up to Black Friday.
Marc Pettican, head of Barclaycard Payments, said: “Our data shows that Black Friday has gotten off to a good start this year, despite the challenging economic environment.
“When you look at spending on Black Friday morning so far, transaction volumes are broadly in line with what we saw this time last year.
“We also saw an increase in transactions in the week leading up to today, with volumes up 3.46% week over week compared to Black Friday last year.”
Traffic on major roads also increased 4.6% on Black Friday last year, starting at noon, according to Springboard data.
UK shopping destinations saw higher shopper numbers, although this remained 22.4% lower than on Black Friday 2019, before the impact of the pandemic.
Building society Nationwide said it has seen a higher number of purchases starting at 2pm on Friday than in the previous two years.
It said that members made 4.52 million transactions, which is 8% more than Black Friday last year and 36% more than Black Friday in 2020, which was hampered by restrictions due to the pandemic.
Mark Nalder, director of payment strategy at the Nationwide Building Society, said: “Spending continues to remain strong as shoppers look for bargains ahead of the holiday season.
“Black Friday will provide a welcome boost to retailers as transaction numbers continue to surpass pre-pandemic levels.
“We expect spending to remain robust throughout the evening as people make the most of payday and celebrate the end of the work week.”
Meanwhile, protesters celebrated Black Friday outside Amazon’s European headquarters in Dublin as part of an international campaign for better wages for workers.
The campaign, spearheaded by Progressive International, aimed to highlight the practices and conditions of “environmentally unsustainable” workers within the global giant.
There was a similar action by Amazon workers in Germany.
And in Belgium, Black Friday deals have caused a backlash where some businesses have turned down the promotions and opted to close for the day or even offer to repair used clothes for free.
At Xandres clothing store in Ghent, a sign in the window read: “Green Friday – closed 25 November – get your clothes repaired for free”.
Home and garden accessories chain Dille & Kamille has closed all its stores in Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany, as well as its online shop, and has advised customers to go for a walk in nature, feed the birds or volunteer at environmental organizations.
“You will find happiness in nature, not in discounts”, reads a sign on his shop in Ghent.