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Friday 18 October 2019


Payments Awards 2019

Black Friday online up 46% as High Street flops

Written by Hannah McGrath

Retailers were left out in the cold on Black Friday as High Street footfall fell more than five per cent cent, while shoppers flocked to e-commerce for their fix of pre-Christmas bargains.

Early data from Friday’s sales event shows online transactions were up 55 per cent on last year between midnight and 10am and up 46 per cent overall, with online shopping continuing to surge throughout the day and into so-called ‘Cyber Weekend’.

By contrast, figures from the British Retail Consortium pointed to a 6.1 per cent decline in footfall for bricks and mortar retailers, compared to 2017.

The indications are that shoppers will continue to splash out on today's Cyber Monday sales as shops and e-commerce sites extend their discounting, with some forecasters predicting that consumers will have spent a total £7 billion over the four-day sales bonanza.

A fall in sales on the High Street, despite heavy discounting throughout the year, will place retailers under renewed pressure as they struggle to make up margins in the all-important Christmas period.

Early data from Barclaycard showed that despite a surge in online transactions over the weekend (up by 10 per cent), the value of spending was down (12 per cent), showing a caution amongst UK shoppers which has taken its toll on retailers this year.

Figures from Springboard suggested that shopping centres were hardest hit over the weekend, with visits down 8.3 per cent.

Matthew Furneaux, global commercial director of Loqate, said: “Whilst the UK High Streets have been quiet, the internet has been busy. Online transactions are up 45 per cent on last year, as shoppers are choose not to brave the cold weather.”

Figures from Loqate showed acceleration across all online platforms, with a spike in transactions between 9am and 10am compared to the hours before work, along with occasional peaks from desktop computers as office workers logged on for a quick shopping break.

Mobile shopping continued to dominate as the device of choice for online shopping, with early data from Salmon showing that 73 per cent of traffic originated on mobile.

Social media sales also saw an upward trend with a 15.4 per cent increase in social-driven shopping compared to last year. Female shoppers were the most active bargain hunters accounting for 66 per cent of traffic.

Furneaux added: “Despite fears around Black Friday fatigue, it’s clear from the data that there is still appetite for good deals if they can be done on shoppers’ terms, and from the comfort of their own home.”

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