Golden quarter 'likely to be most competitive ever' online

The fourth quarter of this year will see one of the longest and most competitive periods of discounting that British retail has ever experienced, with more deals over a longer period, vying for a share of decreasing consumer spending.

This is according to research from e-commerce consultancy Wunderman Thompson Commerce, which claimed that while the Black Friday period will shrink by nearly a quarter (22 per cent) this year, online spending is expected to reach £5.5 billion.

With the pandemic shifting back Amazon’s Prime Day to 13 October, the next 10 weeks will see the biggest sales periods squeezed together like never before, as consumers look ahead to Prime Day, Black Friday and Christmas in the space of just under three months.

The report, which surveyed over 2,500 consumers in the UK, showed that over two thirds (67 per cent) of Black Friday shopping will be done online, equating to a possible £3.7 billion in overall online spend.

With nearly a quarter (24 per cent) scared to go in-store, this is likely to impact the high street - despite that percentage falling from 48 per cent in July this year - while bolstering the online arms of many brands and retailers.

However, the pandemic isn’t the only concern: a fifth of consumers said they will spend less during Black Friday due to concerns over Brexit.

On Black Friday, 65 per cent of spend will be via Amazon, up from 62 per cent last year, according to the report. A further quarter of those surveyed said their spending with the e-commerce giant will increase over the Black Friday period because of its performance during lockdown.

Hugh Fletcher, global head of consultancy and innovation at Wunderman Thompson Commerce, said: “While consumers may not have as much disposable income as they did last year, what they do have, they are more likely to spend online – and could well see a record for the biggest digital spend on Black Friday ever.

“It’s also probable that Amazon, though deeply secretive about its sales performances during peak, will end up ‘owning’ Q4 – applying more pressure to those smaller businesses it is both competing against and looking to work in cooperation with."

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