High Streets Initiative · 28 November 2018

Black Friday 2018: Shoppers struggle to find deals as retailers focus on experience

The most popular categories for shoppers were perfume, TVs and mobile phones

Shoppers did not get the bargains they expected over Cyber Weekend and Black Friday, according to new data, with a fifth paying more rather than less for products.

PriceSpy, which calls itself the fully impartial price and product comparison service, said a survey it held before Black Friday revealed that shoppers expected to save, on average, up to 40%. However, it said that the average saving on products was in reality just 9%.

Almost a fifth of products actually increased in price by an average of 12%.

It said that two out of the three most popular products this Black Friday were found to be less expensive earlier in the year. Apple Airpods were 15% cheaper less than two weeks before Black Friday with the Nintendo Switch 25% cheaper in March.

The most popular categories for shoppers were perfume, TVs and mobile phones. PriceSpy said all of these had significant savings on Black Friday in comparison to the rest of the weekend. The biggest difference was in the TV category with prices 20% cheaper on Black Friday than the rest of the Cyber weekend.

Vanessa Katsapa, UK & Ireland country manager said: “Despite the growing popularity of the Cyber Weekend, our data revealed the average discount offered by retailers was far lower than expected, at just 9% per product.

With a further 12% of products’ prices hiked. Furthermore, when looking at deals on the most popular products over the Cyber Weekend, two out of the three were actually found to be cheaper to buy at different times of the year.”

She added: “Our key recommendation to shoppers is to always carry out price and product research before they buy. This is becoming increasingly important on sale days where offers may not be what they seem. Shoppers should look at the price history of a product to make sure they are getting the best price and a genuine deal.”

How small retailers fared over Black Friday

Business Advice asked two independent retailers about their approach to Black Friday, and how sales performed over the weekend.

Adam Gore, owner and director of online retail company Find Me A Gift, said: “Find Me A Gift ran a Black Friday promotion which was targeted on a small range of our products. As a result, we saw our sales increase by 134% on Black Friday compared to the previous week.”

Ryan Ward director of handmade men’s accessories designer, Vanacci, said they looked at giving customers a personalised shopping experience instead of straight discounting.

“We’ve found that added value has worked better for us than sales or discounts for Black Friday,” he said. “This year, we introduced a personalisation service, free-of-charge during Black Friday, where customers could customise their products.

“We’ve also combined our most popular products together to create bundles that make the ideal gifts. Previously, we’ve introduced limited edition products during Black Friday. This has proved very successful in terms of increasing sales.

“As a small business with a very loyal customer base; a group of people that have really bought into our brand and continue to shop with us year-on-year, we’d rather offer more value with sets and personalisation than participate in the ‘race to the bottom”.

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