The biggest shopping day of the year, Black Friday has become increasingly embedded in the British retail calendar over recent years, but how has 2018 fared? Early data from this year’s black Friday and Cyber Monday sales are in and online is still king for retailers.
Online is responsible for spending growth
Black Friday Weekend – officially the five days from Thursday to Monday beginning on The U.S. Thanksgiving Day – has steadily grown in popularity among retailers and consumers in recent years, and according to some reports could be worth up to £7 billion for the sector. This year has broadly seen a continuation of trends from 2017, but with some important new ones emerging.
Consumers’ overall spending last week was 28% higher than the first two weeks of November, but high street footfall was down an average of 5.1% over the weekend, compared to 2017. This falls in line with what we have been seeing for some time, both on Black Friday and in general, and with average in-store spend dropping 7% from last year and further adding to the troubles of beleaguered bricks-and-mortar stores.
Online retailers, on the other hand, are seeing a continued upswing in their traffic and sales. eCommerce platform provider UKFast reported this week that their users saw on average 30% more traffic than last year, with price comparison service Kelkoo seeing similar growth, at 29%.
Searches Peak on Thursday Night
With Black Friday deals starting earlier each year – Amazon began their’s on November 16th this year – consumers are increasingly researching products and deals before Black Friday itself. According to data from ecommerece firm EmpathyBroker, 60% of all searches for Black Friday Deals took place between 10pm-12am on Thursday 22nd November, meaning retailers who don’t advertise their deals until Friday could be missing out on a huge chunk of traffic. Although conversions peak on Black Friday itself, many customers will have already made buying decisions based on their earlier searches.
Overall, search terms including ‘Black Friday Deals’ saw a 41% increase over 2017! After fairly steady levels of interest in the retail holiday since 2014, this was a huge jump, and could be driven by volatile market conditions driving consumers to be more conscious of deals and savings where they are available. Research from Finder.co.uk supports this, showing that consumers planned to spend an average of £204 on Black Friday this year, a significant drop from the average of £304 in 2017, and a reflection of consumers increasingly stretched budgets.
The Rise of App-commerce
One emerging trend to really keep an eye on is the growth of app-based shopping. Ecommerce app platform POQ released a report based on their users’ data, showing 29% of UK online sales were made through an app, so although consumers are still researching and finding products in the traditional ways, a branded app is an increasingly effective way of driving conversions, and with statistics like this popping up, we’ll likely see even more retailers developing their own shopping apps to compete.