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Black Friday spending predicted to rise by a third

Black Friday Cyber Monday word cloud

Retailers should be ready for a rise of almost a third in spending on Black Friday (27th November) this year, to £1.07 billon, according to new figures produced by Experian, in conjunction with IMRG, the UK’s industry association for online retailers. This would be the first time ever UK online retail sales exceed £1bn in a single day.

Due to increased consumer awareness of discounting by retailers around the pre-Christmas shopping dates, Experian and IMRG predict this retail season to rapidly surpass 2014. The main pre-Christmas shopping days which will see uplift in spending include: Black Friday, Cyber Monday (30th November) and Manic Monday (7th December). Boxing Day and New Year’s Day are also expected to see large increases in spend compared to 2014.

Experian-IMRG spend predictions for 2015

Black Friday (27th Nov) – £1.07bn up 32% yoy (£810m)
Cyber Monday (30th Nov) – £943m up 31% yoy (£720m)
Manic Monday (7th Dec) – £733m up 10% yoy (£666m)
Christmas Day (25th Dec) – £728m up 11% yoy (£658m)
Boxing Day (26th Dec) – £856m up 22% yoy (£699m)
New Year’s day (1st Jan) – £638m up 33% yoy (£478m)

James Miller, Senior Retail Consultant at Experian Marketing Services, said:

“The 2015 Christmas period is on track to be another record year for online retail in the UK. We expect that Black Friday will continue to break new ground for online shopping, passing the billion pound mark for the first time. With consumers now expecting great bargains and trouble free service, retailers must ensure that they have planned their marketing strategies and logistics around these key dates, with carefully prepared cross-channel campaigns, engaging the right customers, via the right media.

“The different types of customer driving the pre- and post- Christmas sales rush must also be taken into account. Retailers should be aware of the strain that will be placed on delivery networks in the run up to Christmas, and also provide a good level of in-store support for the Boxing Day and New Year’s Day rush.”

Justin Opie, Managing Director at IMRG said:

“The size and scale of Black Friday 2014 took everyone by surprise, overwhelming some carrier and retailer operations, as order volumes came in at a full 30% higher than expectation. All the indicators point to a much larger Black Friday this year – both in terms of greater numbers of retailers taking part and growing shopper interest – so the opportunity is vast, but there are many things to consider if it is to be managed efficiently and effectively.

“The first is that we expect Black Friday to become the ‘Black Friday period’ for some retailers, who will run campaigns over several days or even weeks. Also last year anticipation of Black Friday led to a slow start to the Christmas shopping season and panic-discounting by some, which impacted on profit margins. So the availability and rate of discounts will need to be rationalised this year for it to be sustainable.

“Finally it’s important to ensure that customers get the delivery experience they have been promised. Retailers should remember that many shoppers will be happy to wait longer than normal to have their orders delivered if it’s still several weeks until Christmas Day. This will help to ease the strain on fulfilment operations, should bottlenecks occur, but the most important thing is that customers know when to expect their delivery to arrive.”

Black Friday 2014 – An Experian snapshot

- Volume of emails sent on Black Friday was up 82% when compared with the average trading day in 2014
- £810 million spent in a single day, making Black Friday the biggest retail day of the year
- This was the first time that Boxing Day wasn’t the biggest shopping day of the year
- Black Friday shoppers are typically between 36-65, on mid-range and affluent salaries (£50k +) 

Research by Experian has also identified the two different consumer groups driving the growth in festive spending. Time pressed, middle income families, typically from suburban and more rural locations, were found to have been the driving force behind pre-Christmas sales in 2014, which saw over £810 million spent on Black Friday (28th November) alone. In contrast, shoppers on Boxing Day and New Year’s Day are more likely to be younger, urban consumers.

These findings have significant implications for retailers. Last year, the majority of shoppers in the early-season Black Friday sales period were found to be living outside the major city centres in more rural locations. As a result, added emphasis needs to be placed on logistical planning and delivery services. However, bargain-hunters on Boxing Day and New Year’s Day are likely to require more support and service in-store, and in-person.

Key demographic differences for each group are outlined below:

The Black Friday shopper – a profile

Typically families with children
Aged between 36-55
Mid-range salaries or affluent (£50k+)
Suburban or residential locations, less likely to live in cities
Facebook users
Regular consumers of content on mobile devices

The Boxing Day & New Year’s Day Sales shopper

Less likely to have children
Mixture of young and old consumers (26-35 and 56-65)
Living in urban locations – easy access to shops
Twitter users
High consumers of online video content

Source : Experian

27 October 2015

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