Weekly Focus Europe: Black Friday Edition

Black Friday originated in the U.S. and has now become a UK phenomenon, with heavy discounting on thousands of goods ranging from tech and electrical appliances to beauty and fashion, as shoppers prepare for the festive season – or snap up pre-Christmas bargains for themselves – RetailTechNews offers this special Black Friday edition of Weekly Focus Europe: Adobe Analytics: Average UK Shopper to Spend More than 3x as Much as Shoppers in France & Germany; Genesys: 80% of UK Shoppers Will Avoid High Street Stores on Black Friday; and OnBuy.com: Understanding British Consumer Intensions on Black Friday

Adobe Analytics: Average UK Shopper to Spend More than 3x as Much as Shoppers in France & Germany

Adobe released its online shopping predictions for the 2018 holiday season (from November to December), which found that spending in the UK, France, and Germany will jump nearly 25% compared with the same period in 2017.  The findings, based on Adobe Analytics data, also reveals shoppers in the UK will spend more than 3x as much as shoppers in France and Germany during this time, though budgets in these latter markets are significantly higher than last year and continue to grow.

Highlight findings include:

Holiday spending set to increase across major European markets:

  •       The average UK consumer expects to spend £2,046, a 5% jump on 2017 estimates.
  •       French consumers have budgeted €730 (£635) for holiday spending, a 19% increase from last year.
  •       German consumers plan to spend €674 (£587), the biggest increase at 46%.

Holiday gift-buying starts earlier each year:

  •       Nearly 60% of UK consumers plan to start their holiday shopping in mid-November, as do half of consumers in France and Germany.
  •       Much of this November spend will happen during major sales events, such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday, with price still acting as the main factor in peoples’ purchasing decisions. One quarter of UK consumers plan to do their shopping during Cyber weekend, and this percentage jumps to 48% in France.

Major online sales events reflect continued migration towards online and mobile shopping:

  •       Nearly 50% of European consumers will do most of their holiday shopping online, even if more than 40% plan to check out products in-store before making their purchase.
  •       In the UK, over half of shopping budgets (56%) are expected to be spent online this year, with four-fifths (80%) planning to spend the same or more online than they did in 2017.

Mobile shopping experiences are dated and not meeting consumer needs:

  •       Consumers are increasingly using their mobiles to browse and compare products before making a purchase, but feel today’s mobile shopping experiences do not meet their needs.
  •       Two-thirds of European respondents believe mobile shopping has not improved since last year. This is the same sentiment Adobe recorded in 2017, suggesting brands have fallen behind and have more work to do in making their mobile shopping journey smoother and less stressful, with one-in-six UK consumers finding mobile shopping stressful.
  •       Despite this, UK shoppers still find shopping in physical stores more stressful than online: one-in-five (19%) feel phased by stores, compared to just 6% for online stores overall.

Social media continues to gain influence in France and Germany, but is losing steam in the UK

  •       30% of European shoppers consult social media for inspiration before making a purchase.
  •       France leads the way, with 39% saying they consult social channels before making a purchase. Germany comes in second, with 27% of shoppers saying they use social media for inspiration (up from 19% in 2017).
  •       Social is still relevant in the UK, but has been losing influence since 2016, with just 24% of consumers turning to social channels for inspiration before making a holiday purchase.

Jamie Brighton, head of product & industry marketing, Adobe EMEA, comments: “Online shopping continues to surge; and with consumers across Europe planning to spend more than ever over the holiday season, retailers can expect yet another record-breaking year for sales, if they get things right. Never has it been more important to deliver a website and mobile experience that stands up to customer expectations and can handle this boost in demand. Even if price is still the deciding factor for many shoppers, the quality of experience they receive plays a major role as well, especially for brands that want to build loyalty and keep people coming back after the holiday rush.”

Genesys: 80% of UK Shoppers Will Avoid High Street Stores on Black Friday

Eight-in-ten UK consumers (80%) plan to avoid stores on Black Friday this year, according to research by Genesys, a global leader in omnichannel customer experience and contact centre solutions. Over half of respondents (55%) say they do not want to take part in the pre-Christmas bargain hunt on 23 November this year because stores are too busy.

The research, exploring the attitudes of 1,000 UK consumers, found that 31% of shoppers do not believe Black Friday price reductions are worth the trouble of battling the crowds. In fact, 16% say there are better deals to be had at other times of the year. More than a fifth (21%) prefer to shop online on Black Friday.

The retail sales extravaganza known as Black Friday has grown tremendously since truly gaining popularity among British consumers in 2013. In fact, data from IMRG shows UK shoppers spent £1.39bn on online retail sites on Black Friday 2017. This year, UK sales are expected to boom, with shoppers projected to spend £5bn in total, half coming from online sales.

Richard McCrossan, digital lead, Genesys, comments: “This year, the vast majority of British consumers are planning to stay away from stores on Black Friday because it’s not worth the bother. They prefer shopping online in the comfort of their own home – or whatever location is convenient – to the chaos of dealing with crowded high street stores.

“Shopping has become as much about the experience as the purchase – and during the holidays, that means speed is of the essence and convenience is king. Only 5% of respondents said a low standard of customer service is a reason to avoid physical stores, so it’s other aspects that put consumers off. With an estimated 14 stores per day closing in the UK, retailers must meet consumers’ expectations for hassle-free experiences at every touchpoint – from making payments to finding answers to questions, to getting personalised, friendly service. It’s not just about the purchase – it’s about making the experience great.”

The research also found differences in attitudes to Black Friday between the sexes:

  • 82% of women said they would not enter a store on Black Friday, compared with 77% of men
  • 61% of women said the reason they avoid physical stores is because shops are too busy, compared with 47% of men
  • However, more men (21%) than women (12%) say they don’t go into a store on Black Friday because better deals are available at other times of year

Differences emerged between the generations as well, with 60% of 18-24-year-olds saying stores are too busy on Black Friday, compared with 50% of respondents over the age of  55.

OnBuy.com: Understanding British Consumer Intensions on Black Friday

Black Friday is nearly upon us. The shopping extravaganza has evolved into a staple ‘event’ in the UK retail calendar. So much so, that commerce company ‘Salmon’ estimate a colossal £4.75 billion (£2.23 billion online and £2.52 billion in-store) will be spent during Black Friday this year.

With 92% of Brits now aware of Black Friday, according to research by management consulting firm ‘McKinsey’, online marketplace OnBuy.com surveyed 1,562 UK consumers who will be actively seeking the best deals on Black Friday, to better understand their shopping intentions for 23 November 2018.

Before getting into the main findings, OnBuy.com analysed data from ‘Black Friday Global’, to find that £300 is the amount a typical Brit will fork out on Black Friday. From all the offers and discounts available, a UK consumer can anticipate making an average savings of £489. Additionally, with retailers undoubtedly prepared for a huge surge in demand – sales are astonishingly predicted to be 1500% higher on Black Friday in comparison to a regular Friday.

From OnBuy’s survey, it was found that the biggest motivation for British consumers to shop on Black Friday is because they believe it is the best time/opportunity in the year to get expensive products at a marked down price (72%). Thereafter, 66% plan to search for deals on Black Friday for the sole purpose of sorting out Christmas presents for their loved ones. Similarly, 54% will use Black Friday as an opportunity to buy gifts for social occasions such as birthdays and weddings.

Conversely, only 15% of Brits believe Black Friday will provide them with the valuable moments to spend quality time with family/friends. Just above, 27% are influenced to hunt for bargains on 23 November, as a direct consequence of purchasing items on each Black Friday that has occurred since its 2013 inception in the UK.

Furthermore, OnBuy sought to discover the product categories which are set to experience the greatest demand on Black Friday.

‘Appliances/electronics’ (78%) will generate the most interest from shoppers on Black Friday. Perhaps unsurprising, given how popular discounted TV’s, coffee machines, gaming consoles, tablets, and voice assistant devices have been on past Black Friday sales. Slightly below, 72% are on the lookout for some excellent offers on ‘clothes/shoes’ to refresh their wardrobe.

Interestingly, 49% of consumers are in the market for ‘gift cards/vouchers’, which are on sale for less than their face value (e.g. a £25 gift card/voucher for £20).

On the other end, Black Friday promotions on ‘food/beverages’ (17%) are expected to appeal the least to shoppers. Likewise, a mere 28% have ‘sporting goods’ on their Black Friday shopping list.

Black Friday conjures up countless bargains. Even though individuals may not need certain products, the reduced prices could prove to be very tempting. Whilst these impulse buys may seem reasonable at the time, they could turn regrettable later. In such scenarios, OnBuy wanted to investigate what consumers are most likely to do with any unwanted Black Friday purchases.

Majority of Brits will opt to get a refund (67%) for any Black Friday purchases they no longer want to keep. Contrastingly, 60% would give them as Christmas presents to family and/or friends. Strangely enough, more UK consumers would keep unwanted Black Friday purchases (42%) then make the effort to exchange them (35%) for items that would be of more use in their life.

Cas Paton, managing director, OnBuy.com, comments: “Black Friday has become a massive opportunity for UK retailers to drive sales and revenue in the important run-up to Christmas. Consequently, retailers have allocated significant resources to make it a shopping spectacle that successfully captures the attention and wallets of consumers. This year is certainly going to be no different; and this research provides a comprehensive insight into how Brits intend to splash their cash on the big day itself – with some products notably set to be more desirable than others.”