3 Black Friday predictions

There is now just days to go until the biggest event in the retailer calendar. Despite being a relatively new phenomenon, Black Friday sales this year are expected to set the record for the UK’s biggest online trading day, making it a huge opportunity for small and mid-sized retailers.

Using our Big Data Labs online shopping tracker, we’ve drilled into the online shopping habits captured over the Black Friday weekend in 2014 and the year that followed to determine what we can expect from this year’s festivities shopping season.

It will be bigger and better than last year

Last year’s Black Friday surge of ecommerce traffic threw traditional British pre-Christmas shopping habits into complete disarray. Internet retail experts (IMRG) estimated £810 million was splurged online by bargain-hunting British shoppers making it one of the biggest spending days on record.

Dan Barker recently highlighted how Google searches for the term ‘Black Friday’ are up significantly compared to last year.

With the increased awareness of Black Friday as well as the growth of online shopping generally, we’re expecting it to herald a similar frenzy this year too.

In fact, from looking at the trends over the last quarter, we’re expecting to see twice as many ecommerce transactions than in 2014.

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Digital Consultancy Salmon, agree and expect it to be the UK’s very first £1billion online shopping day.

Mobile Commerce will grow by at least 12%

For the first time in history, last year we began to see periods on Black Friday where mobile actually outpaced the desktop. Since then, phones have adapted to have larger, higher resolution screens. This combined with the fact that more and more sites are now responsive as well as significant payment improvements could result in mobile being a huge revenue driver this holiday season. So while desktops will still be the lead device over the weekend, mobile transactions could increase by as much as 12% resulting in almost 1 in 3 online shoppers purchasing from a mobile device. We are expecting this to rise to over 30% over the whole festive period.

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This should come as a stark warning for retailers who aren’t already providing a smooth customer experience across every channel.

Promotions will start sooner and last longer

In order to avoid the carnage that was Black Friday last year, it’s likely that retailers will want to discount much earlier than November 27 and spread the offers over a longer period of time. This is also the view of Tim Robinson, boss of parcel delivery and collection firm Doodle, who believes retailers will want to extend the shopping period in an effort to lessen the burden and avoid any problems with missed deliveries. The lessons from last year will need to be taken into account after many retailers including Debenhams and Marks and Spencer were heavily criticised for failing to prepare for the demand from shoppers and the pressure on logistics which had far-reaching consequences over and above delivery issues.

Will our predictions be right? Keep watching Big Data Labs to watch the day uncover in real-time.

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