Retailers around the world are preparing for the “biggest” sales day of the year, Black Friday which falls on November 24. With retailers set to drop their product prices and offer special deals, consumers will be ready at their computers and mobile devices to purchase the best bargains around with sales revenue projected to beat last year’s targets.

With just seven days until the big day itself, PerformanceIN looks into some key areas and trends in run up to the shopping event, including sales stats, industry movements and more.

The Brexit-effect

In the UK, British shoppers are expected to shell out £10.1 billion on Black Friday week, representing a 4% uptick on last year as more retailers pile in on the action, which is now said to start on Monday preceding Black Friday itself, where the global number of orders placed was just 9% shy of those on the Friday according to data from last year.    

In the UK, Black Friday itself still delivers the greatest sales boost, with a 307% increase compared to the average retail day. However, according to the Guardian, the “bargain fever” seen in years past may not materialise, with most activity heading online and a saturation of discounts diluting consumer excitement on Friday November 24.

Another spanner in the works comes from a weak post-Brexit pound, making it harder for companies to slash prices amid rising inflation and business rates.

There’s a silver lining, though, as sterling struggles to reclaim its pre-Brexit value, Rakuten Marketing found a “huge interest” in consumers abroad buying from UK retailers during the global sales event.

Across the Atlantic & AI

In the US, 2016 saw the holiday season reach record levels with more than $5 billion spent online by consumers. According to online data from Adobe, total Black Friday sales stacked up to $3.34 billion – 21.6% growth year-on-year – while total sales on Thanksgiving accounted for $1.93 billion.

In 2017, Adobe estimates that revenue from online shopping in the US, ending on December 31, will reach $107.4 billion – growing by 13.8% from last year. Content platform estimates an increase of 20% in revenue compared to 2016.

Most of the revenue is expected to come during Thanksgiving (November 23) and Cyber Monday (November 27) with a total of around €20 million estimated for Europe alone.

Salesforce is predicting Black Friday to be the biggest digital shopping day in US history, with consumers utilising various digital channels to research and purchase products; the most used channels for discovering products online will be website (74%), email (43%), social media (38%) and mobile apps (36%).

Utilising voice-enabled assistant to research products, Salesforce predict that 40% of consumers aged 18-36 would research products using either Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri or Google Assistant. In addition, 35% would appeal to the ability to search product deals either at a physical store or online using an image and receiving recommendations based on it.

Mobile dominates

The use of mobile has gradually overtaken desktop over the past 12 months, with 51.3% of pages loaded on mobile devices in October 2016.

In run up to Black Friday, Global CRM platform Salesforce is predicting mobile traffic to grow by a total of 60% worldwide, compared to 43% for desktop traffic. Orders made on smartphones are estimated to grow by 40% on Black Friday.

Let’s talk Amazon

Online retailer giant Amazon continues to lead the digital retail space with plans already in motion ahead of the big shopping event next week. It’s annual event Prime Day earlier this year hit record sales with global revenue reaching $2.41 billion, up by 60% in last year’s event.

The company has announced its Black Friday sale will run for an initial 10 days starting today (November 17) with its online store already displaying price deals on various household products. Amazon will also be doing its first pop-up event in London which will allow customers to experience some of their deals as well as winning prizes and taking part in key workshops.

Industry reaction

While it’s good discussing revenue sales and digital platforms, how do marketers respond and capitalise their businesses during the Black Friday event.

Leading European provider of cross-border solutions for online retailers Global-e is urging retailers to diversity their offering by targeting the increasing amount of shoppers across borders online.

“In order to capitalise on the opportunity and to massively boost conversion rates abroad, UK retailers need to provide a completely seamless and localised experience for overseas shoppers,” commented Nir Debbi, co-founder and CMO at Global-e.

Debbi added that if retailers offer local currencies, payment methods, shipping options and attractive rates, it will help them increase conversion rates and improve sales internationally.

Mapping it out

Focusing on the UK market, Vouchercloud who offer a expansive selection of voucher codes and online shopping deals to consumers worldwide have launched in interactive Black Friday map which uses real-time data to showcase and list the most popular offers across the site, giving consumers a greater picture of what’s out there at any given time.

“The scale of consumers preferring to do their Black Friday shopping online is very evident from our data, and we wanted to visualise this,” said Chris Johnson, partnerships director at Vouchercloud

“The map is essentially a view of online shoppers conducting in real-time their online purchases, and we believe it’s a fantastic visualisation of just how busy, fast-paced and popular Black Friday continues to be in the UK,” he added.

The “Black Hole” effect

Data from online delivery company Sorted looked into the buying behaviours of over 2,000 shoppers in the UK and found while consumers are expected to spend £3 billion on Black Friday deals, around £1 billion worth of online deliveries will fail due to arriving late or after the allocated delivery slot – resulting in a potential £203 million of products returned to retailers.

“Consumers already expect immediacy of delivery at every stage of their buying journey – indeed, our recent research showed two fifths of UK shoppers won’t wait more than 24 hours for a delivery, suggesting that even ‘next day’ fulfilment options no longer adds value to online shoppers,” said David Grimes, founder and CEO at Sorted.

So what is the solution for retailers? Grimes went on to suggest third-party logistics partners “geared to perform in a specific geographic area” as well as carriers who specialise at delivering specific types of items will allow retailers to confidently deliver on customer promises and uphold the delivery experience.

There’s still time to tweak your marketing strategy. Take to our “Last Minute Tips for Surviving Black Friday”.