So much has happened since November 28th last year that Black Friday is no more than a distant memory in most people’s conscious minds. However, it seems that subconsciously, the one-day promotional event is continuing to influence ecommerce purchasing patterns.
New figures released by IMRG and Capgemini’s e-Retail Sales Index have revealed that online sales remain 7% up in the U.S. since the Black Friday.
This may seem impressive at first glance, but it falls significantly short of IMRG’s prediction of a 12% increase – and the analyst is placing the blame on Black Friday’s shoulders.
How has Black Friday changed shopping trends?
The reason Black Friday is responsible for underwhelming ecommerce sales during December and January is because it is changing shopper’s buying patterns. Increasingly, retailers are investing greater marketing budget into pushing the event, and Cyber Monday a few days later, leading to a spike in activity at the start of the holiday sales period.
It’s not just Christmas shoppers who wanted to get in early and snag a Black Friday bargain; many consumers who would traditionally wait until the sales period in January and February decided to buy goods earlier this year. As a result, companies selling big-ticket items such as home & garden furniture and electrical goods saw sales decline by 9% during January.
How has Black Friday influenced retail trends?
The continuing rise of Black Friday’s popularity has also impacted some ecommerce sales patterns. For instance, IMRG notes that the average basket value during January was £81 – which is higher than usual. So although less people were shopping, more goods were being sold at their full price. This indicates that retailers have shifted most of the stock they would usually be discounting this time of year during the end of November.
Which sectors have bucked the Black Friday trends?
There have been victories for businesses in certain sectors this year, such as travel, where online sales increased 21% year on year. Travel has managed to defy the overall downward trend due to the extreme cold weather experienced in the U.S. during recent weeks; consumers need the thought of a relaxing, sunny summer holiday to keep them motivated during the winter months.
Clothing sales also outperformed general figures, with year on year results rising by 14%. This could also be contributed to the cold, with higher volume of people purchasing items such as coats, hats and scarves in a bid to stay warm.
What can ecommerce companies learn from these trends?
From reading these figures, it might seem like the most appropriate course of action for online retailers is to center their promotional efforts around Black Friday – as this is when people will be looking for bargains.
There is an element of truth to this, however the increase in basket value is also an important point to note. If consumers are more willing to buy items at full price during January and February, then investing marketing budget around this period could lead to a significant uplift in sales, without having to compromise profit margin.