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Black Friday leads UK online shopping

News, 31 October 2016

LONDON: Black Friday is a relatively new entrant to the UK shopping calendar, but new research suggests it is on course to become the biggest online shopping day of the holiday season with internet revenues expected to reach £901m this year.

The study, by tech firm Adobe, reveals that UK consumers are showing little sign of cutting back on their spending despite ongoing economic uncertainty, caused in part by the country's decision in June to vote to leave the European Union.

Adobe expects total online spending this holiday season to increase 10% year-on-year to £24.3bn, with Christmas Day set to be the busiest day for mobile shopping, Netimperative reported.

Traditionally Black Friday takes place the day after Thanksgiving in the US, so it is earmarked for November 25 this year, and then followed by Cyber Monday.

According to the report, spending growth on these two days is outpacing annual average growth in the UK by 50%, and British shoppers are motivated by aggressive sales promotions and the fact that the end of November coincides with most people's final pay day before Christmas.

Online sales in the UK tend to peak before the start of December before levelling out in the run up to Boxing Day, and the report says this behaviour contrasts with France and Germany where holiday shopping is spread more evenly in December.

The report also confirms the growing influence of smartphones on consumer behaviour. A fifth (20%) of revenue is expected to come from m-commerce this holiday season and smartphones are set to account for 41% of holiday season browsing in the UK.

Search advertising will be important for retailers and brands alike because Adobe says 27% of UK consumers rank it as their preferred source for finding bargains, although email (23%) remains another major route.

John Watton, EMEA Marketing Director at Adobe, said that Black Friday has radically reshaped consumer spending over the Christmas period in the UK and that retailers will need to respond, especially with their online capabilities.

"The challenge for brands is further exacerbated by the rapid growth in mobile browsing and spending, with more time-pressed Brits turning to online shopping to avoid traffic and queues," he said.

"It's more important than ever that retailers deliver consistent, easy and compelling experiences on every single device that a customer uses in order to avoid missing out on their share of the growing online spend."

Data sourced from Netimperative; additional content by Warc staff