Black Friday is no longer a one-off day, as it now spreads over a couple of weeks with the result that both consumers and retailers are re-evaluating their approach to the event.

“We’re increasingly seeing Black Friday evolve into a mature, accepted shopping period, where retailers can secure returning shoppers who will deliver genuine value,” according to Elliott Clayton, SVP at digital media agency Conversant.

Conversant’s own analysis shows that the average order value from a new customer on Black Friday of 2018 sat at around £75, fluctuating between £70 and £85 across the week – almost identical to that of a ‘regular’ customer.

“‘Peak Week’ has historically been seen as a time for bargain hunters, but over the past few years retailers have seen a gradual plateauing of sales in favour of higher orders throughout the surrounding month,” said Clayton.

“While the sales peak in ‘Peak Week’ will be less pronounced, retailers will see an increase in sales over a longer period, plus gain new customers who will come back for more over the following 12 months. It’s a valuable, long-term opportunity, rather than the short, sharp sales rush it’s normally considered as.”

There are some signs it may not even deliver that rush this year, as IMRG recently forecast sales growth of 2-3% for the Black Friday period (defined as the eight days from 25 November to 2 December) – “the lowest forecast we have ever put out for a major online sales event”.

One reason it highlighted was “the level of discounts that are already available before the ‘core discounting period’ arrives”. Consumers are well aware that good deals are available at other times and aren’t necessarily driven to shop on the day itself.

And that theme is echoed in research from consumer organisation Which? that found 95% of the 83 Black Friday deal items it investigated were available for the same price or cheaper in the six months after the event; and 61% of the items had been the same price or cheaper in the six months before.

“The prevalence of discounting from retailers throughout the year, combined with the scepticism surrounding whether Black Friday discounts are better than those being offered generally, means that consumers are paying less attention to this period as a whole,” Diane Wehrle, insights director at Springboard, told the Guardian.

She added that next month’s general election would also dampen consumers’ appetite for spending.

Sourced from Conversant, Which?, Guardian; additional content by WARC staff