Black Friday failed to excite the high street as online sales generate billions » SMEInsider

Black Friday failed to excite the high street as online sales generate billions

Online shopping stole the show on Black Friday, with high street stores seemingly deserted during the retail holiday. Analysts now predict that over £3 billion will be spent over the four-day shopping period, with much of the money generated online.


Disappointing statistics

High street retailers were unable to replicate last year’s Black Friday crowds as attendance figures sharply fell. According to retail insights group Springboard, footfall in shops across over the weekend was down 9.6 per cent year-on-year, with Black Friday itself recording a 4.5 per cent fall.

‘The volume of activity in retail stores over the Friday and Saturday of the Black Friday weekend is lower than last year and the evidence clearly points to the fact that much of this is due to a significant increase in shoppers using online to participate in the event,’ said Diane Wehrle, marketing and insights director at Springboard.

‘The growth of click and collect in supporting store visits should not be underestimated, particularly for retail parks, with many shoppers now opting to buy online but to then visit stores to pick up their purchases.’

The way UK consumers spend their money on Black Friday is shifting. Calamity and chaos engulfed supermarkets and newspaper headlines last year, causing early Christmas shoppers to act more sensibly this year and make their purchases online.

‘It looks like Black Friday has cemented its place as the busiest online shopping day of the year,’ said a spokesperson for Visa Europe, one of the continent’s largest payment firms.

‘More than £760m was spent online with Visa cards, up nearly 25 per cent on last year,’ continued the spokesperson, adding that over £2.2bn is set to be spent in the UK alone over the four day shopping period.


Cyber Monday

With Black Friday over, the next event on the retail calendar is Cyber Monday, a term which was coined by US shopping body the National Retail Federation to encourage consumer spending after the Thanksgiving period.

According to figures from the Centre for Retail Research, online spending will hit approximately £3.49 billion, with Cyber Monday attributing nearly £1 billion of that alone.

The retail holiday is expected to test Amazon’s warehouses, with Lucy Robertson, general manager of Amazon’s Peterborough warehouse, expecting a huge increase in consumer demand.

‘We expect today to be phenomenally busy and for it to get even more hectic later,’ explained Robertson.

‘Cyber Monday has always been our biggest single day for sales but the growing success of Black Friday illustrates that it has become a much anticipated date as the nation prepares for the festive season.’