Black Friday and the long-term change in shoppers habits
Barclay Card, who currently process nearly half of all UK debit and credit card transactions, stated there was a rise of 8% on 2016 spending during Black Friday. What these figure don’t show is a continuing shift in customers shopping habits with a decrease in people visiting stores and an increase in online sales.
John Lewis stated that they had their busiest single hour of online trading and that “Sales on Johnlewis.com both overnight and into the day itself have exceeded expectation. ” [Dino Rocos, the retailer’s operations director]
While online sales were strong, and indeed growing, by mid-afternoon shoppers in the high streets and shopping centres had fallen by 8%. There were other factors contributing to this drop in footfall where some retailers spread their sales over the preceding week. Other bricks and mortar shops simply chose not to participate in the Black Friday sales following previous years experiences of retailer madness, leaving online retailers to benefit from potential new customers and additional sales.
PCA Predict, an eCommerce trends service, said there were 24% less online between midnight and 7am following a rise of 11% in the preceding week. By 5pm the number of shoppers was up 3% year on year displaying an overall rise. “This longer sales period has shifted the emphasis away from Black Friday being a major retail event in its own right, towards becoming part of a pre-Christmas mini-season or ‘golden quarter’ for retailers,” said Chris Boaz, the head of marketing at PCA Predict. Server admins and Dev’s will all breath a sigh of relief to see the Black Friday rush spread more thinly throughout the week.
eCommerce: A trend worth following
Black Friday can be seen as an example of just how radically shopping habits have changed in the last decade. With the ever increasing availability of goods and the convenience of shopping online customers increasingly reach for their electronic devices rather than their house keys when shopping. Retail markets have to adapt, reduce their property costs, sufficiently market their goods to the target demographic and have in place an eCommerce system capable of growing with the changing market. Failure to adapt and move forward are clearly illustrated by both Toys R Us and Maplins both having recently entered into Administration. In stark contrast an online clothes store has recently posted a 14% rise in pre-tax profits and a 37% rise in sales.
Black Friday saw an increase of 11.7% on the previous years online sales, according to online retailers trade body IMGR, while analysis firm Springboard said shopping centres and retail parks witnessed a 3.6% drop in footfall. This change in shoppers habits is predicted to continue and the importance and necessity for many of a strong eCommerce presence will continue to grow in importance.