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Black Friday falls short of online expectations

Written by Chris Lemmon
29/11/2016

Online sales in the UK increased by 6.7 per cent on Black Friday this year, but fell well short of the 25 per cent rise that had been forecast, according to Springboard figures.

Despite this, e-commerce firm Global-e witnessed a 24 per cent increase in cross-border sales year-on-year, as international shoppers looked to benefit from the weakened pound in the Black Friday sales. This is more than three times the average increase experienced by UK retailers.

Worldpay reported a 20 per cent rise in the number of online transactions compared with last year, with global online sales peaking at 16:01 GMT on 25 November, at a rate of 181 transactions per second.

Retail analyst firm Salmon published three sets of statistics on the day, reflecting the balance between those shopping through mobile or desktop channels. Between midnight and 9am on Black Friday, Salmon reported that three quarters of total traffic came from mobile shoppers, which dropped to 53 per cent between 9am and midday. Between midday and 3pm, 57 per cent of traffic came through mobile and 43 per cent through desktop.

According to technology firm PCA Predict, there was a 26 per cent increase in mobile orders compared with last year – with transactions on desktops dipping below 50 per cent for the first time (48 per cent) and mobile orders accounting for 42 per cent of all online purchases made on Black Friday.

Argos recorded 500,000 visits to its website in the first hour of online trading alone, up 50 per cent on last year, while John Lewis reported on Friday that their busiest period of the day so far was between 8am and 8:30am as people shopped on their way to work. Sales through mobile phones also saw a 21 per cent spike between 8am and 9am.

HookLogic Exchange found that online Black Friday shoppers and purchasers were up 13.9 per cent and 11.9 per cent respectively, with peak times from 7am to 9am and 6pm to 9pm. The average cart size was 1.8 units, totalling an average value of £91.30.

In terms of in-store figures, ShopperTrak reported an eight per cent decline in High Street footfall on Black Friday, with visits peaking between 11am and 3pm. In contrast, Springboard said that High Street footfall grew by 2.8 per cent against an expected decline of five per cent.

Rupal Karia, managing director for retail and hospitality at Fujitsu, commented: “This year’s Black Friday was surprising, as online was not only expected to dominate, but blow the High Street out the water – and this evidently was not the case. As we saw, High Street footfall was up 2.8 per cent from last year which outpaced the five per cent drop that was anticipated. This demonstrates the fact that customers want a balance. Between online and physical shopping experiences, the High Street isn’t as obsolete as some might think.”



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