Black Friday has proven to be a mixed blessing for retailers this year, as online penetration continues to dominate.
New figures from the BRC – KPMG Online Retail Sales Monitor have shown that UK retail sales in November rose by 1.3 per cent from last year, up from the 0.7 per cent increase a year before.
Black Friday week saw non-food sales rise by 40 per cent, compared with other weeks in November. It also marks the highest three-month average growth since March.
However, sales in the weeks leading up to the event were down and physical retail sales in the three months to November declined by 0.8 per cent.
“Retailers of goods that don’t traditionally benefit from the event, such as clothing, saw weaker Black Friday week sales this year, but made the most of the increased online traffic in the weeks building up to the 25th November by offering promotions to capture shoppers browsing for early bargains,” BRC chief executive BRC Helen Dickinson said.
“Overall, consumer spending remains stable, although very much value-driven with a focus towards products on promotion as shoppers take advantage of the deals of the moment and retailers strive to offer the best choice and value to their customers.
“With an extra weekend to shop for Christmas this year, nerves will be tested in December as retailers choose their strategies to attract the last minute gift shoppers.”
Online sales saw the most significant boost from the event this year, breaking penetration records. November marked the third consecutive month of double-digit growth in online sales, posting a 10.9 per cent from last year.
Non-food spending grew by 10.7 per cent, compared to total growth of 1.7 per cent, and online sales represented 27.6 per cent of total non-food sales this year, the highest rate on ever.
“With discounts on electricals being the key feature of Black Friday sales, it is unsurprisingly that the other non- food category, in which consumer electronics sit, contributed the most to growth in November,” Dickinson said.
“It was the beauty and toy categories which topped the growth rankings, as customers took advantage of the pre-Christmas discounts for gift purchases.
“With more than one in four pounds spent online, this was a record high for online non-food sales.
“Facilitated by the convenience of buying online, heavy sales periods, such as November, encourage an increasingly value-driven customer to shop around for price comparisons to fulfil their Christmas shopping list.”