The Black Friday event originating from an American tradition that saw sales take place the first Friday after Thanksgiving, has seen UK retailers take up the event to offer bargain hunters big discounts both in store and online before the final weeks leading up to Christmas.
Amazon is reputed to have introduced Black Friday to Britain in 2010 with take-up for the concept reaching a peak in 2013 that saw disturbing scenes of stampeding shopping mobs and violence in store over bargains.
This year a number of the big retailers took part in the event ranging from John Lewis and Tesco to fashion retailers like Topshop offering discounts across a wide range of products including TVs, toys, computers, handbags and fashion. According to ‘This is Money.co.uk’, Black Friday saw £1.9 billion worth of sales delivered, but retail analysts say the event is losing momentum in the UK with a drop of 6% of shoppers hitting the high street versus last year.
Interestingly ASDA chose to not take part this year and communicated their strategy to offer a range of fantastic offers in the lead up to both Christmas and New Year. “This year customers have told us loud and clear that they don’t want to be held hostage to a day or two of sales,” Asda’s CEO Andy Clarke explained.
For the high street, the huge crowds and queues were not as expected, with many shoppers choosing to stay at home and bag a bargain online. Amazon reported Black Friday 2015 was its most successful day ever in the UK with 7.4 million sales made, equating to something like around 86 sales per second.
Robert Williams, Managing Director at Williams Commerce says “”Looking across our customers we’ve seen significant growth since Black Friday 2014. Notably our customers are employing increasingly sophisticated online marketing campaigns to drive new revenue. We mirror Demandware’s analysis that traffic growth is predominantly on mobile.”
With Black Friday ecommerce sales predicted to continue increasing year on year, with up to 12% increasing in mobile phone transactions in 2016, retailers hoping to take real advantage of events like Black Friday should continue to focus on honing their website performance and mobile shopping experience, whilst gearing up to offer true personalization via their ecommerce store and marketing campaigns to target shoppers effectively.
“Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the sales period through to early January provide a rich tapestry of data ideal for deep analysis for retailers to understand customer trends, site performance, and opportunities. We’re working with a number of retailers right now to help them interpret this and build the 2016 plans in detail.” commented Robert Williams.