Retailers in the UK are preparing for a record-breaking Black Friday, with almost £1 billion in online sales expected, while online sales over the Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend (27 – 30th November) could exceed £2.2 billion, according to new research.
After being inundated in 2014, retailers are preparing for even greater demand this year.
In Europe, Black Friday sales are expected to top £1.5 billion for the first time with the UK accounting for over two-thirds of this spend. Over the weekend, almost £4 billion in sales have been forecasted across the continent, according to research commissioned by RetailMeNot, the world’s largest marketplace for digital offers and operator of VoucherCodes.co.uk.
RetailMeNot commissioned the international study to understand how retailers would be looking to capitalise upon Black Friday and the Christmas shopping period across seven European countries (UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, and Belgium), as well as the United States and Canada.
The study, which combines interviews with over 450 retailers and 3,000 shoppers, reveals:
• UK shoppers responsible for ‘lion’s share’ of Black Friday sales in Europe – while European retailers are increasingly adopting Black Friday, the UK is far and away the leader. UK retailers will rack up almost two-thirds of all Black Friday sales in Europe, with shoppers predicted to spend £966 million, versus £1.53 billion across the continent
• Outside of the UK, Black Friday spend is highest in France and Germany – French shoppers will spend £159 million on Black Friday, while those in Germany will fork out more than £281 million. Retailers expect shoppers to spend £45 million in Italy, £38 million in Spain, £26 million in the Netherlands, and £19 million in Belgium on Black Friday
• US shoppers will spend £1.72 billion on Black Friday – retailers in the States expect shoppers to spend £1.72 billion on Black Friday – an increase of 16% on 2014 – while in Canada, retailers expected Black Friday to deliver £57 million in pre-Christmas sales
• Online sales to top £2.2 billion during ‘Cyber Weekend’ in UK – Retailers expect UK shoppers to spend £2.2 billion online – over half the £3.99 billion expected across Europe – and an increase of 15.9% versus Cyber Weekend 2014. In the US, £4.58 billion will be spent online over the ‘Cyber Weekend’, while £156 million will be spent in Canada
Giulio Montemagno, SVP & GM International, RetailMeNot says, “Black Friday is now a firm fixture on the UK retail calendar and retailers that were ‘knocked sideways’ by Black Friday in 2014 are making sure they are fully prepared this time round. With shoppers now expecting retailers to offer Black Friday promotions, we’re finding that some retailers are delaying promotions in early November so as to capitalise upon the anticipated spike in sales on Black Friday and the start of the Christmas shopping period. Furthermore, after coming under fire in 2014, retailers are investing in making sure that the shopping experience doesn’t falter this year.”
UK retailers prepare for record-breaking Black Friday
After retailers were caught off guard by unprecedented consumer demand on Black Friday in 2014, leading to websites crashing and some retailers being unable to fulfil all orders placed, UK retailers are aiming to be more prepared in 2015.
The top five ways in which UK retailers are preparing for a Black Friday include:
• Greater promotion of in-store ‘click and collect’ services – 86% of retailers hope to ease the pressure on delivery firms and ensure that customers can get hold of their purchases quickly by encouraging more consumers to collect items in-store or use ‘commute-and-collect’ services such as Doddle
• Create dedicated Black Friday shopping pages – 84% of retailers are planning to more clearly signpost Black Friday deals online, so that shoppers can find deals faster and more easily, without having to spend too much time to find what they are looking for
• Longer delivery time for Black Friday orders – with four weeks until Christmas, retailers have recognised that most Black Friday sales don’t require next-day delivery. As such, 78% of retailers plan to increase delivery time, with requiring up to 4 -5 additional days to deliver
• Increased capacity and website bandwidth – to present websites from ‘toppling over’ after being inundated by shoppers, 78% of retailers intend to build extra capacity into websites and rent additional bandwidth over the Cyber Weekend shopping period
• More capacity in the distribution chain – 68% of retailers are planning to hire or rent more storage capacity near urban hubs, block-book delivery services in peak periods to ensure deliveries can be made, and use multiple distributors instead of a single distributor to avoid any bottlenecks during peak periods
This independent study into the prospects for Christmas shopping in 2015 has been commissioned by RetailMeNot and carried out by the Centre for Retail Research. Telephone interviews with 50 major retailers have been carried out in each country and consumer interviews with 1,000 shoppers each in the U.S., the UK and Germany in order to gauge their likely intentions. The surveys were carried out in August-September 2015.