The rise of Black Friday online

First published: 02-11-2017

Watches and beyond: The rise of Black Friday online

Black Friday: two words that send the retail world into a frenzy. Online sales have played a starring role in the infamous event in recent years, and high street chaos is quickly being exchanged for the online experience.

With a massive &pound1.23 billion spent online on Black Friday last year and &pound6.45 billion spent across the whole week, going online is clearly a prime way for shoppers to snap up great deals. We've shed some light on last year's stats and offered some predictions for this year's event.

Black Friday spanning the whole week

Black Friday spanning the whole week

The notion of Black Friday being anchored to a 24-hour period is becoming a thing of the past. The concept is now being stretched across the entire week, as retailers stagger deals to build up momentum.

Research from retail analysts IMRG indicates that each of the four days leading up to the event in 2016 (Monday 21 - Thursday 24 November 2016) experienced strong sales growth of between 23.4% and 33.7%, a higher conversion rate compared to Black Friday itself.

Traffic from both desktop and mobile experienced an uplift of 52% on Black Friday and 81% during the four days leading up to Black Friday, compared to online traffic in 2015.

Could the South come out on top again in terms of footfall?

Black Friday spanning the whole week

During Black Friday 2016, Wales and London came out on top in terms of where footfall was at its highest, with Wales receiving a 5.7% increase between 2015 and 2016 and London a 2.9% increase.

It was the opposite up North, with Yorkshire and the Humber experiencing a decline of 0.5% and the North West plummeting to 0.8%.

People deliberately wait until Black Friday hits

Black Friday spanning the whole week

Black Friday is having a knock-on effect on store footfall during the period prior to the event. The anticipation of bargains meant savvy shoppers postponed their shopping trips during the first fortnight of November 2016, choosing to hold off until the big day. Store footfall declined over 6.4% during the month of November.

It might have been that improved online measures, with sites better equipped to deal with increased traffic and an eruption of orders, encouraged people to track down bargains online rather than fight through crowds in chaotic stores.

Mobile could be the way to shop this year

Black Friday spanning the whole week

Last year saw a 26% increase in online checkout traffic, with 43% of purchases taking place on mobile. And this year could be the year that mobile over takes over desktop, with recent research revealing that visits to retail websites via mobile devices have well and truly overtaken desktop traffic.

With the demand for ecommerce continually growing and shoppers' habits evolving, we expect that Black Friday's presence online will be bigger and better than ever this year. Keep your eyes peeled for our Black Friday deals.

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