Black Friday is the King of savings days. It’s not just a US tradition anymore, though - and you don’t have to hit the streets and fend off crazy bargain-hunters trying to grab a TV out of your hands, either. Now, you can make the most of some Black Friday vouchers and shop the very best deals, snap up the very best bargains and cut the cost of all the famous brand-name products from the comfort of your own home. With vouchercloud, you’ve found your perfect Black Friday companion!
Black Friday truly kicked off in the UK in 2014 - but since then, every popular brand name has jumped on board, ensuring that you’re getting the very best offers and deals available. If you’ve been penny-pinching to save for a new laptop, or dealing with a broken screen on your phone praying for the latest model, then now is the time, my friend; grab a Black Friday discount code for your favourite brand, get hunting for the greatest deal, and let us show you the way to a saving that’ll knock your socks off.
Black Friday in the UK
Black Friday falls on the 25th November this year, but the date changes every year - because it is the Friday immediately after the American holiday of Thanksgiving. The tradition originated in the US, with some states even celebrating the day as an official public holiday. In fact, Black Friday has been the busiest shopping day of the year every single year since 2005 across America, showing that the very best deals are within reach and the popularity is only growing.
It also officially marks the beginning of the Christmas shopping season, with people happily scooping up the best deals to save on the big ticket items for friends and family members. The UK truly took Black Friday to heart in 2014, when major retailers like ao.com, Very.co.uk, John Lewis and Argos put their very best offers on the table this early to entice shoppers before the Christmas season - and ever since, more and more retailers have made sure to take part.
The modern incarnation of Black Friday - especially here in the UK - is a primarily online event, with the majority of brands focusing on fantastic digital offers rather than pushing customers to traipse around the stores (and ensuring the ugly scenes of shoppers clashing and stores heaving are avoided). In fact, Black Friday 2015 saw online sales increase 36% year on year - hitting £1.1 billion.
Retailers also received over 16% more orders over the Black Friday period in 2015 than in 2014 - and that isn’t including the improved offers throughout the period preceding Black Friday, with many retailers choosing to extend their sales and push the period as a major pre-Christmas shopping occasion.
Black Friday deals can vary wildly. America made Black Friday famous with ludicrously cheap deals on high-end electronics items like TVs, and you’ll still find some very competitive offers for tablets, laptops and phones across the Black Friday weekend. However, with more and more brands taking Black Friday to heart, you’re more likely to get sitewide offers, allowing you to grab 10-20% off many popular brands and full ranges, as opposed to individual items. The period is also notorious for ‘flash sales’, where certain items are offered for a short time period for unique prices. Amazon’s ‘Lightning Deals’ are the perfect example, offering secret prices on heaps of products and even Amazon Prime exclusive deals to users who keep an eye on the site throughout the Black Friday period.
Black Friday Stats - 2015
Interest in Black Friday is continually on the rise across the UK, and the sales figures are reflecting that - records are being broken every year, and digital sales are only increasing. In fact:
Shoppers spent over £3.3 billion in the UK over Black Friday weekend in 2015.
£1.1 billion of that spend was on Black Friday itself - meaning ⅔ of sales are being made across the rest of the weekend.
In fact, £561 million was spent on Saturday and £676 million on Sunday.
£3.3 billion over Black Friday weekend equates to £49 per person in the UK - including babies.
Black Friday 2014 brought in £810 million - 2015 showed a 36% increase year on year.
Cyber Monday sales also increased by over a third - hitting £968 million, up from £720 million in 2014.
Footfall in stores was down year-on-year on Black Friday, according to FootFall and Springboard - down 4% and 4.5% respectively.
40% of all online sales came from mobile devices - an increase of 24% year on year.
However, US research suggested that the average sales per customer were down, dropping to $123.45 from $125.24 in 2014.
Even Cyber Monday saw well above-average boosts; online traffic was 60% higher than on a typical day across 2015, and traffic between midnight and 8am was up 9% on the year before.
Black Friday 2015 was Amazon’s busiest ever day in the UK, with more than 7.4 million items sold.
There were even some amazing insights from individual brands:
Argos saw over 1,000 orders per minute between 8am and 9am - 19 orders per second.
Currys and PC World reported seeing eight sales per second - with 30 TVs selling every minute.
Maplin CEO Oliver Meakin reported on the “highest ever day of online sales” in their history.
We can also learn a lot about the importance of Black Friday based on search behaviour across the weekend; with so many shoppers now heading online for all kinds of product across the Black Friday weekend, there are some interest peaks and troughs to be noted (courtesy of PI Datametrics):
Between 2013 and 2014, ‘black friday’ related searches were up a massive 1,117%.
‘Black friday’ as a term was searched 2,240,000 times across November 2014.
‘Black friday’ related queries were actually more frequently searched for than ‘Christmas’ related queries in 2014.
Another key indicator of success (or, as the case may be, failure) is the amount of downtime a site experiences during the incredibly busy Black Friday period. A number of sites went down during the busy period before 9am, and this can have quite the profound impact on profits:
By 5am, the top 100 retail sites (according to InternetRetailing.net) were experiencing the same load as they would at peak time on a typical day.
One in five e-commerce websites across the UK has experienced some downtime before 9am on Black Friday, including the likes of Boots, Argos and Game.
ELC and Mothercare recorded the longest page load times, with 21 and 17 hourly tests on Black Friday showing a page load time of over 30 seconds.
With John Lewis reporting it would be selling £45 million worth of goods via its website, a minute of downtime would technically mean a £75,000 hit to sales figures.
Black Friday Shopping Statistics
It isn’t just about the total number of sales or the massive spend across Black Friday weekend - the nature of the holiday changes the way we shop fundamentally, and has shown some very interesting trends in recent years:
Roughly 70% of sales across Black Friday take place between 6am-10am and 6pm-10pm - pre and post the typical working day.
Mobile likely accounts for 60% of traffic across Black Friday - though many sales will eventually be made cross-device (researched on mobile, purchased on desktop, for example).
Black Friday actually sees traffic spikes at midnight, pre-7am and up until 10pm-11pm, showing that shoppers are hunting for deals throughout the entire day.
Some of the highest 2015 search volumes actually dropped on Thursday night, indicating shoppers are trying to get ahead of the curve.
The weekend has also changed the way retailers behave, with some trying to make the most of the occasion - and others bravely, and perhaps foolheartedly, trying to avoid the occasion altogether. Asda is the perfect case study:
Despite parent company Walmart’s iconic status as a Black Friday pioneer in the States, they decided to opt out of Black Friday in 2015.
They claimed shoppers didn’t want to be held “hostage” to a single day of sales, and instead committed to offering improved deals across the whole pre-Christmas period:
“Over the last two years we’ve developed an organised, well-executed plan, but this year customers have told us loud and clear that they don’t want to be held hostage to a day or two of sales” - Andy Clarke, Asda President and Chief Executive.
Instead, Asda saw a 5.8% decline in the three months up until the end of December, with Q4 sales being heavily impacted by the neglect of Black Friday.
Black Friday Trends - The Future
New forecasts suggest UK shoppers will spend £5bn over the 5-day cyber weekend in 2016 (Thursday through Monday).
Queuing systems are likely to evolve for - and be implemented more frequently by - retailers, given that website downtime has such a profound effect on Black Friday sales (86% of consumers would rather queue online than see the website crash).
In fact, 47% of consumers would be happy waiting three minutes or more in a queue around Black Friday (courtesy of Traffic Defender).
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