Arguably the biggest day in the global retail calendar, Black Friday has arrived today (November 24), with estimates that in the UK consumers could be ready to shell out up to £2.5 billion.
You’ll struggle to find any retailers not offering a range of discounts throughout the course of the day, with the bulk of marketers deeming the date “critical” for driving sales, building market share, and providing customers with “real deals”.
The predictions have been made and trends have been forecasted, and as the action unfolds, we’ll be keeping you up to date with key takeaways and statistics from the UK and overseas as they happen.
First set of global stats have come in from affiliate network Awin, which show purchases on smartphones are trending up 30% in sales, continuing to overtake desktop transactions.
In the US, Thanksgiving sales came in at over $1.5 billion, according to data from Adobe; an increase of nearly 17% over the same time last year, while average online orders were up 3%.
Quiet scenes in UK
Last year’s scenes of consumer highstreet chaos have yet to storm the headlines with ADYOULIKE’s UK MD, Dale Lovell, believing “wider economic issues” could be affecting spending power within bricks and mortar retailers, while digital stores could reel in the bounty; “online retailers are still performing extraordinarily well and Black Friday will only help them further.”
Metro reports "orderly queues" outside Tesco.
In the US, shoppers have been reported dressing as staff in order to skip queues, in what's now predicted to be a $20 billion weekend ahead for American retailers; experts predict 164 million Americans will spend nearly $1,000 each over the holiday weekend.
Looking at products being brought on across Awin’s network this Black Friday, electronic products are proving popular among shoppers. Products including Apple AirPods, Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones and Call of Duty WW2 are ranking the most popular purchases across the network.
On the eve of Black Friday, a number of e-commerce retailers experienced issues with their websites due to large surges in online traffic. Simon Wharton, managing director of PushON commented that shortly after 9 pm on Thursday evening, retailers such as Ted Baker, GAME and Calvin Klein were struggling to meet demand with online shoppers temporality unable to access the site.
First bits of data from Awin on total sales are appearing to show sales up around 20% year-on-year across the whole network.
Across Awin's global markets, year-on-year sales growth has gone up in Sweden (70%), France (42%) and Benelux (39%).
Amazon's Black Friday sales are underway with a number of its discounted products from the Echo Dot to the Fire TV Stick proving popular among shoppers.
Vouchercloud's Black Friday Map has been thriving with thousands of offer redemptions from a number of UK retailers, including Debenhams, JD Sports and John Lewis offers rising in popularity over 30%.
The Guardian reports a "slow start" for high street retailers, with Black Friday fever has been dampened by days of early discounts, with many online and high street shoppers "choosing to stay in bed rather than battle for bargains in the early hours". According to PCA predict, shoppers online between midnight and 7 am tanked 24% on last year, after an 11% rise in shopping over the previous week.
According to the Independent, 65% of UK shoppers will resist the temptation to buy a Christmas gift on Black Friday sales, despite the average Brit taking advantage of 84 deals each year through their sales-conscious shopping.
For the UK, 59% of browsing came via mobile as well as 50% of sales, according to Ve Global. This is up "massively" from 2016, where just 43% of traffic came through mobile. Interestingly mobile sales were higher in London (55% vs 50%) than the rest of the UK.
Shopping activity across Europe has "increased enormously", finds Ve, showing that Black Friday has taken hold in the European market; traffic up 121% and sales up 321%.
Further reports by Ve Global find that in London, activity shifts from mobile and tablet to desktop as working professionals settle in at the office, however, while sales double, traffic levels are stagnating across the UK.
In Europe, despite less traffic compared to the average Friday sales are up 75%.
The percentage of abandoned carts fell dramatically compared to the average Friday in London (-9.1%) and the UK (-9%) indicating more buying and less browsing
133% increase in sales attributed to programmatic display advertising compared to the average Friday.
Only 1% of shoppers plan to start Christmas shopping on Black Friday, according to research by Toluna; With inflation putting pressure on household spending, many respondents seemed keen to spread the cost of Christmas shopping, with 31% indicating that they would start before November.
Amazon on top
Amazon, Argos and Currys are the top searched-for retailers alongside the term “Black Friday”, according to IMRG, further finding that from the start of the week (November 18) one in 13 searches included the words 'Amazon' or 'Argos'. One in 22 searches included the word 'Currys'. Searches and visits to Boots have increased (119%), Zara (130%), Primark (159%), while for the travel industry, searches and visits to Easyjet have increased 146% and TUI (56%).
Chris Boaz, head of marketing of PCA Predict commented as of lunchtime today "Sales for Black Friday are down 2%", again citing the impact of prolonged sales periods in the run-up to Black Friday.
"Far from dead"
Back across the Atlantic, based on a consumer survey NRF projects Black Friday will hang onto its crown as the busiest shopping day of the long weekend. Bloomberg proclaims "Black Friday is far from dead", with televisions (24%) and tablets (24%) seeing the highest average discounts, while appliances and jewellery follow with 18% and 12%.
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