For Black Friday, Britons Eschew The Queues And Shop Online
Smart shoppers stayed home on Black Friday, but spent plenty online, racking up sales of over £1B. Barclaycard reported a total spend of £2.9B, including non-Black Friday purchases, throughout the day.
John Lewis, for example, said five orders were placed every second between 8am and 8:30am. Mobile sales increased 21% between 8am and 9am.
John Lewis’ most popular item so far this shopping season is the Sonos Play 1, which flew off the shelves at a rate of one every 10 seconds. The Lego Simpsons house was the top seller by value, and Sophie Conran crockery is the company’s best seller in home goods.
Argos and Currys PC World served 500,000 online shoppers each.
Analysts say Black Friday is changing—executed mostly online, prices cut to the bone, over a longer period of time.
CBRE head of retail Martin Summerscales says retailers have learnt the lessons of previous Black Friday events, which did little to build brand equity and became negatively perceived through poorly executed store-based promotions. Increasingly, retailers are using the event more tactically, shifting the focus away from stores and elongating the period over which offers are available; a more fitting term may now be "Black Fortnight."
Knight Frank head of retail research Stephen Springham says the elongation of the shopping period helps dilute demand spikes and alleviate the supply chain bottlenecks. “Consumers have been fed a diet of promotions and discounts for too long, to the point that they expect nothing else. If a product’s not marked down, they’ll wait until it is. If it’s not, they won’t buy it. Hardly a healthy situation for the retailers, but they have effectively created a rod for their own back. Black Friday is not the only example of this demand impasse, but it is the most obvious manifestation.”