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Black Friday / Cyber Monday Weekend in Numbers

December 2, 2016

As ecommerce specialists, the Black Friday / Cyber Monday weekend is certainly one of our busiest times of year.

It is, quite literally, our job to crunch the numbers and make sure that our clients websites are performing to their best all year round, but no weekend is more exciting for us than the last weekend in November!

This year, UK shoppers spent an estimated £1.23bn on Black Friday, up 12.2% compared with the same day last year. But who made the most of the spending spree? We’ve looked at who the winners and losers were over retail’s busiest weekend.


  1. Winner: Onlineshoppers_on_dundas_near_yonge

Traditionally, Black Friday sales were reserved for in-store promotions, with shoppers taking days off and flooding the high street in search of the best bargains. This year, however, high-street shopping activity was lower than expected, with half of all spending on the day taking place online, a 20% increase when compared with last year.


  1. Winner: Longer Deals

Although one-off bargain buys remain popular (where retailers heavily discount a single item to boost wider activity within stores and online), Black Friday and Cyber Monday are no longer sale days on specific items, they now last weeks and span ranges.

In total, UK consumers spent £6.45bn online over the Black Friday peak period of Monday 21 November to 28 November. When compared with the £1.23bn spent on Black Friday, this means that those retailers that only focused on Black Friday may actually have missed out on 81% of spending activity!

This year, Black Friday deals began around 10 days before the Friday for many retailers, with giants John Lewis and Amazon spreading their deals across the week before and the week after. The proof was in the Christmas pudding here, with John Lewis posting a record £200m sales week in the week leading up to Black Friday.

These extended sale times also mean retailers can keep sales running until payday, with many workers’ paydays arriving two days after Cyber Monday this year.

We also used our bespoke Shopulous email platform to track this trend. We followed the email marketing activity of a number of the UK’s most popular retailers, noting that over 1,200 emails were sent to consumers about Black Friday, with over 60% of these arriving in consumers’ inboxes before or after the weekend itself.


  1. Loser: Returnsshop-791582_960_720

Many retailers use Black Friday weekend as an opportunity to clear old stock, but returns can give retailers a headache. Payment processor Worldpay estimates a 40% surge in returns this week following a flurry of impulse buys made over the weekend.

Before celebrating your amazing results, make sure you have the resources to account for any potential increase in the number of returns made.


  1. Loser: Website Hosting

Sadly, many retailers experienced a Black Friday blackout this year with website downtime as a result of high levels of traffic. Consumers trying to reach bargains at Currys PC World reported website crashes and ‘sluggish’ speeds. DELL’s website also struggled with demand.

With all of the effort put into marketing at this time of year to drive as much traffic to your site as possible and convert those visitors, it’s important to make sure that your website hosting can cope with the increase in demand.


  1. Winner: Mobile

According to new research from Adobe Marketing Cloud, Black Friday 2016 accounted for mobile’s best sales day in history.

With YoY growth of 33%, mobile accounted for a fifth of all sales made online. It also revealed that smartphones, fractionally, drove more sales revenue than tablets.

Adobe’s research also revealed that conversion rates were higher on Black Friday than any other day over the festive period with mobile conversions almost doubling – from 1.3% to 2.4%.

It’s more important than ever to ensure that shopping on your website is mobile optimised. This doesn’t only mean optimising each product page, but also the checkout experience itself.

If you’d like us to show you exactly how you can improve your ecommerce performance, register for your fee audit now.

Written by Andy

Andy is Venture Stream’s Chief Operating Officer and has over 15 years’ experience in ecommerce consultancy, design and retail marketing.

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