The massive US sales period – Black Friday – was first brought to the UK in 2013, and 4 years on, while it doesn’t have quite the same connotations it had back then, it’s still a huge focus for retailers both online and in-store. As usual, we paid close attention to what was happening in the online world, and, specifically, at the number of transactions, the busiest times, areas and the devices being used this Black Friday.
But is Black Friday dead as far as consumers are concerned or are they still keen to spend, spend, spend? Here’s what we found via our eCommerce Trends data over the biggest sales period of the year.
Week long sales
The Christmas holidays seem to start earlier and get more expensive each year, but Black Friday is seen by many as a great chance to get Christmas gifts at discounted prices. On the week building up to Black Friday, we saw an 11% increase in traffic compared to the same period in 2016, with the number of companies extending their sales over the 7 days.
While Black Friday itself started off slow, with online sales falling 24% from midnight to 7am compared to the same time last year, transactions started to pick up as people commuted to work. By the end of the working day, sales were up 3% on the same period in 2016. Overall, Black Friday saw a 6% increase in transactions compared to last year, and the peak minute for spending was 10.58 am.
On Black Friday, the type of device used was down to time of day. For example, between midnight and 1am, when people were presumably at home on the sofa or in grabbing a bargain in bed, 59% of shoppers were using mobile, and after a brief dip, mobile once again took over as most used device from 6-8am. During office hours (8am-6pm) this shifted back to desktop, with workers doing a spot of sales shopping at their desks. Then, from 6pm until midnight, the majority of transactions were once again made via mobile. This shows that shoppers are becoming more comfortable with shopping via mobile. Apart from convenience, this is most probably due to improvements in technology and better online security.
Black Friday’s thriftiest areas
So, who did the most online shopping on Black Friday 2017? Well, SE1 (South East London) was the savviest postcode for when it came to Black Friday purchases, followed closely by CW9 (Crewe), CR0 (Croydon), LE2 (Leicester), E14 (East London), BN1 (Brighton), NG7 (Nottingham), BN2 (Brighton), BA2 (Bath) and E1 (East London).
Black Friday weekend
The following day – Saturday 25th – saw an 18% YOY growth, with shoppers taking advantage of last minute offers on the first day of the weekend. The sudden change in cold weather may have lead people to shop from the comfort of their homes instead of venturing out to the high street.
While Sunday 26th didn’t have quite the same impact as the Saturday, it still witnessed a 6% growth compared to the same date in 2016, showing that consumers were still being enticed by late offers.
This year’s Cyber Monday wasn’t quite the success that many retailers had hoped for, with a 14% decrease in transactions compared to the same day last year. As predicted, this is likely due to the fact that shoppers exhausted their funds after such a long sales period. Cyber Monday also fell earlier than previous years, meaning many people will have been keeping their wallets closed until payday, towards the end of the month.
Dead or alive?
Black Friday may not have been as big as retailers anticipated, but it appears to be here to stay in one way or another. The fact that it is no longer just a one-day sales event has shifted the emphasis away from just ‘Black Friday’ and instead to a pre-Christmas ‘golden quarter’. It will be interesting to see whether the sales period extends all the way up to Christmas next year.
Join us in January for a live webinar as we discuss this further with Riaz Ali, optimisation manager at gifgaff.