With the Christmas sales still in full swing, December isn’t usually a time of hindsight and reflection for retailers. However, with Black Friday and Cyber Monday fresh in our memories, now is the ideal time to gauge consumer behaviour, and see what we can learn from the biggest retail period of the year. Read on for four key takeaways from the Black Friday madness.
The hype is still rising
In the run up to Black Friday, retailers wouldn’t be blamed for expecting something of an anticlimax. Figures from the Office for National Statistics showed a 0.3% fall in sales for October 2017, compared to the previous year. The picture was brighter for ecommerce, however, with online sales increasing year-on-year by 10.7%.
In either case, there was nothing to be worried about. Black Friday sales – across the whole weekend – reached around £8 billion according to the BBC. Compare that to the average weekly spending of about £1.2 billion, and you can see just how much of a difference the Black Friday buzz makes.
Focusing on the Friday
It’s no secret that Black Friday has become much more than a day, with some referring to the four-day weekend period (Friday to Monday) as Black Friday Weekend, or Cyber Weekend. As well as Cyber Monday and Black Friday, we’re seeing names flying around for the weekend days, such as Sofa Sunday and Small Business Saturday, creating the impression that sales will be shared pretty evenly.
This wasn’t the case though. Black Friday still managed to dominate UK traffic and sales compared to its weekend counterparts. Data from NMPi shows that Black Friday generated almost doubled the sales and revenue of any of the other days. Interestingly, this was also the first year in which Sunday outperformed Cyber Monday for clicks, sales and total revenue.
Sales aside, Black Friday also saw significantly higher conversion rates than other days, with Saturday worst off in that sense. Clearly, as well as attracting plenty of attention, there is still something about Black Friday that makes consumers more likely to buy.
There are also some interesting points to take from the devices people are using to browse and buy. Mobile overtook desktop in terms of traffic in 2017, compared to 2016 figures which showed desktop domination. This demonstrates a growing trend of customers using mobile devices to browse and research products, before purchasing on their desktop devices.
However, there has also been a shift in the devices used to buy products. NMPi figures indicate that there were just as many purchases made on mobile devices as there were on desktop. Retailers need to ensure they are completely mobile-friendly to make the most of the sales.
Retailers need to capitalise on sales periods
Black Friday – and the whole weekend following it – was clearly a hit. However, it may not have made up for November’s poor sales on the whole. Figures for Scotland indicate sales have still dropped for November as a year-on-year comparison with 2016.
There seems to be a clear pattern emerging in consumer behaviour. With Black Friday in their mind, customers are holding off on sales through the rest of the month. So, it’s crucial going into the future that retailers are prepared for high activity during these peak sales periods.
Preparing yourself for sales
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