In stark comparison to last year, Black Friday shoppers chose to scroll through bargains on devices rather than visit stores. Typical British weather may have driven consumers to stay in-doors, but with offers retailers’ websites on right up until midnight and beyond, it made sense for Brits to shop online.
As a result, retailers are hoping that there will be a surge in sales on Cyber Monday.
Another holiday imported from the US, Cyber Monday traditionally sees shoppers searching for digital deals. It is expected to bring in more than £900m for online retailers, an increase of almost a third from last year, thus contributing to a total of over £3bn for the four day shopping experience that began last week.
Experts predicted that Black Friday would be Britain’s first £1bn online sales day, and that retailers with the best digital capabilities would get the most from the day. Following the event, data company Experian predicts that online sales surpassed £1.07bn, an increase of 32% from 2014.
Shopping for deals online has proven to be the prevailing tactic for customers. According to Springboard, a company that tracks shopper numbers and behaviour, footfall across the UK last weekend was actually down by 9.6% on last year, whilst online retail had effectively “stolen the show”.
“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 Marketing and Insights Director at Springboard Diane Wehrle.
The exception were retail parks, which experienced an increase in footfall of around 4.9% on last year. Footfall was still down on Friday, but increased on Saturday and Sunday, likely due to customers picking up purchases via click and collect services.
“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.” Wehrle added.