Peak trading is here. Retail’s busiest time, followed by Easter and Halloween, has landed with a bang and, with it, has brought some much-needed festive cheer to an otherwise challenging industry environment. But just how good was Black Friday 2019 and what does it suggest about Christmas shopping and the more traditional Boxing Day sales?
As predicted in our annual Black Friday survey, 2019’s Black Friday sales proved to be a hit. In fact, the British Retail Consortium found that November clothing sales were up 6% for the period from 27 October to 23 November, compared to the same period last year. Helen Dickinson, chief executive at the British Retail Consortium, said the figures suggested shoppers were “ready to take advantage of the great bargains available, both online and on the high street”.
The good news continued for the high street, as Black Friday footfall rose by 3.3% year on year compared with the equivalent day in 2018, research by intelligence analyst Springboard found. Alongside this, Barclaycard said that transaction values were up by 16.5% compared to 2018, with the volume of transactions up 7.2%. However, whilst this spells out great news for retailers who could capitalise on sales and increased footfall, will it lead to a quieter December as consumers bagged their bargains earlier than usual?
Christmas Spending 2019
Feel like your Christmas list seems to get bigger every year? You’re not the only one. Advisory firm Deloitte ran their European Christmas Survey which suggested that us Brits are the highest festive spenders in Europe, with people in the UK spending £567; this is up by £6 from last year and significantly higher when compared to the average European budget of an anticipated £395.
But how is this money being spent? Unsurprisingly, the majority of UK shoppers’ budgets are headed for presents (£299), with £143 being spent on food and drink, followed by £63 on socialising and £62 on travelling over the party season, highlighting real opportunities for retailers and hospitality vendors to capture consumer spending.
Deloitte also analysed more than 800,000 online and in-store products and suggested that this Christmas could see average price cuts potentially topping 50% by Christmas Eve for the first time, meaning that savvy shoppers could even grab a bargain in the run up to the big day, rather than waiting until Boxing Day for their sales items.
So, with a more positive outlook during this trading period, is it set to continue? Potentially, yes: in 2018, footfall on the 27, 28 and 29 of December was a third higher than on Boxing Day and it’s predicted that footfall on each of these days will be higher this year. This also leads support to our 2019 Black Friday survey analysis, which suggested that customers are now more tech savvy, taking the time to research where to find the best bargains before venturing to the high street.
But when will the bargains go live? And is there a chance that consumers could take advantage of an early discount before Christmas Day itself? Jason Gordon, lead consumer analytics partner at Deloitte, seems to think so.
He said: “We anticipate many Boxing Day discounts to go live online on Christmas Day itself, those browsing perhaps buying the one present they didn’t receive. On the physical high street, though, Boxing Day promotions could arrive even earlier. The operational challenges that sales present in-store mean some retailers could be offering Boxing Day sale prices on Christmas Eve, for those willing to hit the shops early.”
Time will soon tell when figures from December trading are released, but hopefully this festive season has brought some joy to the high street, too. Happy Christmas to our colleagues, customers, partners and blog readers: here’s to a wonderful and successful 2020!
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