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INDUSTRY INSIGHTS

  • 22 Dec

Black Friday vs Boxing Day

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SaleIn the UK Boxing Day is a well-established tradition in the retail calendar. However, over the past couple of years, the American import that is Black Friday is proving to be tough competition. While the event has been an important part of the US shopping calendar since the 1960s, Black Friday has only been running in the UK for four years and already looks set to overtake Boxing Day.

Retailers are jumping on the Black Friday and Cyber Monday trends by kicking off the festive sales nice and early, and helping to boost not only footfall but also customer engagement.

The extraordinary success of this event has got many experts thinking about whether Black Friday could fundamentally change the UK shopping calendar. Online Director at John Lewis, Mark Lewis, commented;

“Black Friday has definitely become one of the key dates in the UK’s shopping calendar. Following steady growth over the last few years, Black Friday really emerged in the UK in 2013, when we saw the day break our previous records for a single day’s online trade.”

Lewis added; “Black Friday is changing the way our customers plan their Christmas shopping.”

Some experts have warned that with this growth in popularity of Black Friday and Cyber Monday it could mean the death of Boxing Day sales. From a consumer’s point of view, why would they want to rummage through all of the left over stock when you could pick up cheap Christmas presents a month before the big day? But with price drops in the lead up to Christmas, it doesn’t leave retailers much scope to further reduce prices on 26th December.

Tesco says it expects Black Friday to beat Boxing Day sales in 2014 as it reported discounts of as much as 70%. According to Visa on Black Friday, consumers spent £1m on its cards every 3minutes throughout the day.

Both IBM and Adobe highlighted the impressive impact of mobile devices over the long weekend that included both Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Adobe commented;

“Smartphones nearly doubled their share of total online sales on both days.”

IBM added;

“Thanksgiving Day mobile traffic accounted for 52.1 percent of all online traffic – the first time mobile devices has outpaced their PC counterparts for online browsing.”

An estimated £810m was spent online by British shoppers on Black Friday, according to internet retail experts IMRG – this was an increase of 74% on 2013 figures. Cyber Monday also showed an increase on last year’s figures of 44%.

Even if the sales season continues on through to Boxing Day, it’s unlikely we will see the same success that was had on Black Friday. Needless to say how retailers perform on 26th December this year will be a key indicator of things to come in the future of retail sales.

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