Amazon shines as Cyber Friday is born
Amazon.co.uk had its busiest day ever on Black Friday, selling more than 7.4 million items, at a rate of around 86 per second. This compares to 5.5 million items last time around. “Throughout the year, we have been investing in more distribution centres and hiring many more great people in anticipation of our biggest Christmas period ever and, in particular, our biggest ever Black Friday. We are delighted that millions of customers loved the deals on offer,” says Christopher North, managing director, Amazon.co.uk.
Big Black Friday questions remain
UK retail footfall this Black Friday was up 0.3 per cent on 2014, according to Ipsos Retail Performance. The rise was largely felt in outlet centres and on retail parks, where traffic rose by 8.3 per cent and 4.3 per cent respectively. The retailers that saw the strongest increase were in the DIY, homeware and health and beauty sectors.
Black Friday busts through £1bn barrier
Black Friday online sales reached a record breaking £1.1 billion in the UK, with £495 million being spent on smartphones and tablets. This is a 36 per cent year-on-year increase. James Miller, senior retail consultant at Experian Marketing Services, says: “Manic Monday – 7 December is also coming up fast and has previously been viewed by consumers as their last chance to order goods online and ensure pre-Christmas delivery. This year we are expecting £733 million to be spent on this day, up 10 per cent year-on-year. In addition, retailers with bricks and mortar stores should also consider preparing for the post-Christmas sales rush, which Experian has found is more likely to be attractive to consumers who prefer shopping in-store.”
Payday fuels Cyber Monday rush
UK shoppers raced online the moment it turned into Cyber Monday with a 176 per cent rise in e-commerce activity between midnight and 1am today compared to an average shopping day in 2015. PCA Predict’s Big Data Labs reveals that traffic volumes from midnight to 8am today are up by nine per cent compared to last year and 60 per cent higher than an average day in 2015.
Changing shape of Black Friday
Whilst online traffic was up significantly on Black Friday at 49 per cent, the whole week including the Saturday after, showed significant increases when compared with the previous year. According to Peerius, this reflects the extension of the Black Friday theme to cover a greater time period. Despite good traffic increases, the conversion rate was actually lower on all the days during Black Friday week. On the day itself, conversion was higher than the previous year at seven per cent up. It seems shoppers probably expected that any offers they were being presented with during the week might be bettered on the actual day. In terms of how they are buying, people using tablets had the highest conversion rate, almost doubling that of smartphones. Yet tablet traffic grew the least year on year at just a 12 per cent increase. Smartphone traffic on the other hand shot up by 86 per cent which suggests that people are still less comfortable about purchasing through such devices.
Black Friday sales growth set to slow
UK retailers are set for a 6.7 per cent YOY increase in sales over the Black Friday weekend. According to MasterCard, Friday 27 to Monday 30 November will see £5.9 billion spent by UK consumers in-store and online, with the latter topping £1 billion for the first time. Momentum for weekend spending will, however, slow from a 13 per cent increase in 2014, although growth in online shopping will be strong, up 17 per cent on last year.
UK set for Christmas splurge
Brits are set to spend the most on Christmas gifts this year compared to the rest of Europe, the USA and Australia. The ING Special Report on Christmas and New Year, which surveyed more than 13,000 people, reveals that Brits are planning to part with €420 on average this festive season. The next biggest spenders come from the USA (€360) and Luxembourg (€300), while Australia (€200) features halfway down the table alongside Germany, Spain and Italy (€200).
Retailers feel Black Friday strain
As a result of Black Friday, 22 million parcels (worth over £1 billion) will be home delivered in the UK over the next week. But 2.2 million of these won’t arrive on time, according to LCP Consulting. It also estimates that £75 million of orders will turn up late because of the delivery company or the retailer. £31 million will also need to be re-delivered because of a carded delivery.
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Black Friday morphs into Cyber Friday
Black Friday is showing signs of a shift online, with smaller crowds in stores than a year ago. UK in-store shopper traffic will be down by as much as four per cent year-on-year today, according to FootFall. The retail intelligence specialist attributes this to major retailers, such as Amazon and Argos, elongating activity beyond a single day of discounts, and so removing the impulsive ‘buy now’ nature of the day itself. It also suggests a disappointed customer experience from 2014 – from retailers’ websites crashing, to long queues in-store and issues with deliveries – may also put consumers off participating this time around.
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