The annual shopping frenzy that is Black Friday returned once again last month amid what can only be described as an unprecedented period in human history – how would sales hold up in the midst of a global pandemic?
We’re here to take a look at all the statistics from Black Friday in the UK and explore just how customer spending habits changed in the wake of COVID-19.
Physical Stores Struggle As Expected
2020 has played witness to a huge shift in the retail and eCommerce sectors. Physical stores have been forced to close (some of which will never reopen) and websites have been pushed to capacity with server load and delivery pressures. Despite the retail sector recovering to pre-pandemic levels before Black Friday, a second national lockdown in England and a ‘firebreak’ in Wales destroyed any hopes of physical store spending outperforming previous years.
Before Black Friday began, it was estimated that 88% of consumer spending would take place online this year, up from 77% in 2019. Somewhat surprisingly, the age bracket that would be most inclined to shop online more than any other was the 45-65 year olds (94%), suggesting that Black Friday is no longer simply for the younger millennial generation.
Barclaycard, the financial organisation responsible for processing £1 in every £3 spent in the UK, stated that the majority of transactions for Black Friday usually take place in stores, highlighting the potential for the retail sector to see a deeper decline than anticipated – and this fear was later confirmed as Friday saw a 17% drop in overall payments made to retailers between midnight and 4pm.
Although national lockdown in England was lifted on December 5th, footfall to physical stores was still 29% down on 2019 figures despite an 193% increase in week-on-week shopper traffic. This reinforces the overall trend that shoppers remain nervous about returning to busy shopping centres and highstreets despite Christmas looming large on the horizon.
Amazon Break Their Own Record
With physical stores struggling, Amazon have capitalised once again – they recently announced that Black Friday 2020 had been their ‘biggest ever’ with promotions seeing third-party retailer sales grow by a whopping 60%.
They also highlighted the popularity of self-care products, pets and toys as the most searched categories with customers starting their Christmas gift shopping ahead of schedule.
Pet, Home & Garden See Big Growth
As the highstreet continues to struggle, online retailers in the UK saw a 23% increase in sales over the Black Friday/Cyber Monday event, accompanied by a 35% rise in site visits across the board and a 2% increase in conversion rates compared to 2019. However, a 4% decline in average order value delivered a timely reminder that consumers are increasingly watchful of their spending and discounts had to be more attractive than ever before to get shoppers to part with their cash.
Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, it was the pet supplies and home/garden industries that came out on top for sales with increases of 60% and 52% respectively. The only major category to see a decline in sales was fashion and accessories, which fell 4% overall despite a 7% increase in traffic.
Global consumer behaviour reflected the current pandemic situation as we saw a 24% increase in the number of pages viewed and a 20% increase in the time spent on any one page. Combine that with an overall drop in bounce rate of 2% compared to 2019 and you can be confident that shoppers were making much more considered decisions over the Black Friday event.
As a final thought and perhaps something to bear in mind as we head into 2021, there was a 30% increase in the number of product recommendations shown to customers on Black Friday – this suggests that online retailers are becoming more focused on delivering that personalised customer experience to all users, allied with a greater chance of upselling similar products to increase total sales.
Media Lounge Client Performance
Media Lounge clients enjoyed another hugely successful year across both Black Friday and Cyber Monday with a massive average increase in daily revenue of 339% compared to the rest of 2020! Combine this with increases of 120% in total sessions and 279% in total sales, and you have one of the most successful Black Friday events on record.
Congratulations to all our clients, we certainly have our work cut out to help you beat these numbers in 2021!