Typically, ‘peak shopping season’ referred to the few months prior to Christmas, with sales reaching a crescendo in December. However, Black Friday, an import from the USA, has stirred up the peak season, bringing fevers of excitement for shoppers in the UK hoping to bag a bargain.
Black Friday has arguably become the biggest day of the year for shoppers, but with online sales becoming more prominent in the retail market how did consumers and retailers fare on 24 November 2017?
With a whopping £4.1bn spent on online sales in the UK this year, shoppers are turning to their laptops, tablets and mobile phones to bag their Black Friday bargains. Figures are up some 11.7% on last years, correlating with the already established trend of online shopping.
However, the slashed prices failed to entice shoppers to the high streets, shopping centres and retail parks. Retailers have seen their footfall figures fall by 3.6%, casting new doubt over the popularity of the British stores’ adoption of the US retail event.
Retailers are holding sale events for longer and longer every year, and as the years have gone on we have seen the rise of a new phenomenon; Cyber Monday. Traditionally an online-only 24 hour sale, this year Cyber Monday is expected to have beaten Black Friday sales for the first time. Over 21.5 million people have expectedly bought discounted goods on the Monday that follows Black Friday, this figure suggests that Cyber Monday has generated £7m more in total sales than Black Friday.
Not all retailers have caught the shopping bonanza bug! While leading chains, including Argos, Amazon and Currys PC World took part in the annual clear-out, some retailers chose not to buy into Black Friday. Marks & Spencer’s also decided not to take part in the money-saving holiday, instead opting to cut their prices on a selection of products on a dedicated sale page on their website.
Other stores including Fat Face have turned against the annual discount frenzy, suggesting that it’s bad for customers, bad for business and bad for UK retail. This could be a trend that we could see continue to grow, especially amongst those retailers who already have a lower profit margin.
Drapers also suggested that Black Friday is bad for independent retailers, who are forced to discount their goods to keep their head above water. Unlike the big retailers, they don’t have huge profit margins on their products so it means that some indies find themselves losing money as opposed to gaining it. This has led to the ‘Small Business Saturday’ movement, which encourages people to shop independent and local.
Defying the negative stigma that comes with this year’s Black Friday, John Lewis achieved a daily sales record last week, hitting a weekly high of £214.3bn. The department store’s sales rose 7.2% in the week commencing the 20 November compared to the same week last year.
With a peak of 705 items sold per minute online during Black Friday itself, John Lewis embraced the event both in-store and online, relishing in the chaos.
Do you think that Black Friday is beneficial to UK retailers, or simply just a waste of time? Let us know your thoughts by dropping us a tweet – @NeoPRLtd.