Business development · 28 November 2017

Online retailers take Black Friday 2017 spoils with £1.4bn sales

Online Black Friday sales exceeded growth forecasts
Online Black Friday sales exceeded growth forecasts

Online retailers registered sales of £1.39bn on Black Friday 2017, according to UK retail data, with strong ecommerce trading coming at the expense of high street footfall.

According to data from online retail trade body IMRG, the sales total exceeded the already high forecasts set for ecommerce traders. With sales growth initially forecast at nine per cent, online retailers increased Black Friday 2016 sales by 11 per cent on 24 November this year.

Of the £1.39bn, 39 per cent was made through smartphone transactions, taking a higher share than both desktop and tablet devices. Analysts at IMRG noted that while it wasn’t the first time mobile sales came out on top, it continued to go against the most convenient browsing option for people on a standard working day.

The impressive sales figure surprised analysts at IMRG, who outlined three factors that could have negatively impacted on Black Friday 2017 revenue.

  1. Landing earlier this year than 2016 on 24 November, Black Friday 2017 took place before payday for most UK workers.
  2. Almost every business sector now runs a Black Friday campaign, which could have diverted sales away from retail.
  3. The Black Friday discounting period is now stretched over a longer period up to and after the day, with the potential the dilute sales.

Commenting on the strength of online sales for Black Friday 2017, IMRG strategy and insight director, Andy Mulchay, said the way consumers shop around for discounts suited ecommerce browsing.

“People shop in a lot more places than they would normally. Because they know everyone is offering massive discounts then they are inclined to shop around more. Online lends itself well to that,” he explained.

In contrast, Britain’s high streets struggled to replicate the activity. According to analytics firm Springboard, high street footfall was down 4.2 per cent on Black Friday 2016. Even including retail parks and shopping centres, footfall dropped by 3.6 per cent.

Compared to the forecast footfall decline of 0.6 per cent, bricks was evidently trumped by clicks this year.

However, high street trading did pick up the following day, with Saturday footfall only down 0.6 per cent. Springboard experts suggested the pick-up was indicative of shoppers becoming aware of discounts extending past Black Friday itself.

Our Bricks & Clicks video series is helping retailers strike a balance between growing a brand online and establishing a physical presence

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Simon Caldwell is a reporter for Business Advice. He has a BA in politics and communications from the University of Liverpool, and previously worked as a content editor in the ecommerce industry.

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