According to research, more than a quarter of British people consider Friday 13th to be unlucky. But how does superstition impact business?
Fear of Friday 13th actually has a name: paraskavedekatriaphobia. Researchers have estimated that a total loss of £585m is made due to the impacts to sales and productivity on Friday 13th, as many customers refrain from activities such as flying and anxious employees stay home from work.
While superstitious tendency varies with ages, location and culture, the impacts of the superstition and Friday 13th are felt across the country. British Medical Journal report ‘Is Friday the 13th Bad For Your Health’ found that in one study, road accidents in part of the UK were over 50% higher on one Friday 13th than on the previous Friday.
Paraskavedekatriaphobia causes a problem for a number of industries too. Research shows estate agents tend to report a decrease in people buying houses on Friday 13th, and wedding planners see reduced bookings due to fear of tying the knot on the ‘unlucky’ date. A third of people in surveys have admitted to refusing to fly on Friday 13th, which means airline companies and travel agents both report a decrease in revenue for that date.
Furthermore, over the last 10 Friday 13ths, the FTSE 100 has closed on a low for 7 of these dates – so it’s probably not a wise day to decided to see your shares, either.
Over the last five years, the FTSE 100 has closed lower on seven of the 10 Friday 13ths.
It could be a coincidence – or is there something else at play?
On Friday 13th July 2012, China’s GDP growth dropped to a three-year low of 7.6pc, marking a new stage for the country’s economic slowdown.
A few months earlier, the Italian cruiseliner Costa Concordia ran aground on the same doomed date in January, killing 32 people and wiping more than a fifth off its owner Carnival’s share price.
In January of the same year, IBM took a hit as the Jerusalem virus wiped irretrievable data off computers across the UK on Friday 13th.
Half of Northern Irish respondents said they believe Friday 13th is unlucky, twice as high as the average response, with 64pc admitting they have superstitions, compared to 38pc overall.
Scots, on the other hand, are a more practical bunch: just 13pc consider Friday 13th to be unlucky, with not one person saying they would avoid staying in hotel room number 13.
For the superstitious among you, be aware there are two Friday 13ths in 2017: January and October.