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Rising Christmas sales ride on Black Friday strategies

Mintel predicts UK sales will improve but performance will depend on retailers’ approach to pre-Christmas discounting.

Christmas shoppers

Christmas shoppers

Christmas retail sales are predicted to rise 2.5% to £42.2bn this year but this depends on retailers’ approach to the all-important Black Friday.

Research from Mintel shows that a fifth of consumers bought gifts online and 11% in store on Black Friday and Cyber Monday last year, while 23% of UK consumers said they will put off making big purchases until they have seen the Black Friday and Cyber Monday promotions this year, the research found.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday kicked off the Christmas promotion season last year, boosting November retail sales by 1.5% to reach £440m in 2015. Of those who bought items on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, 55% said they bought things they would have normally waited to buy in the January sales and 26% held off spending ahead of the Black Friday and Cyber Monday promotions.

This year, a fifth of shoppers plan to shop online more for Christmas 2016, rising to 24% of men and 28% of 16-to-24-year-olds. The top three reasons why UK shoppers made their purchases online this year were to get cheaper prices (55%), to avoid the crowds (49%) and to shop when it suited them (49%).

“December 2016’s results will very much depend on what retailers do about Black Friday, but if they cut back on such promotions then there will be a knock-on benefit to December, as sales roll over into this month,” said Richard Perks, director of retail research at Mintel.

“In 2015, December’s results were weak, partly because of Black Friday and partly because of the unseasonal weather, which seems to have been a constant story over the last year. So the comparisons this Christmas are easier.”




Readers' comments (1)

  • darren hoggett

    Black Friday is arguably the worst ever 'event' ever introduced in retail - and that is saying a lot. If it didn't exist, ALL retailers would be better off as a whole.

    The consumer only has x to spend, so why discount? They won't spend any more, so what is the point of it all?

    The trade is fundamentally flawed and it needs a complete change of personnel at the sharp end and fresh thinking of how it approaches the current fear of appropriate margin, but too many people are worried about their final pension to speak up and just go along with the status quo.

    I believe you will gradually find you will get more brands distancing themselves from Black Friday, but discounting to the run up to it (e.g Ted Baker who have gone on sale again) so the 'Black Friday' effect is still there, even if the discount itself isn't offered on that weekend.

    Product devaluation is a huge problem in this industry as some brands and retailers alike don't seem to have the confidence to sell an item at its true value and Black Friday compounds that.

    We are quite fortunate that we have built a business with a non discount ethos which our customers respect and they view 'Black Friday' with a high degree of cynicism, but many other Indies have to try and compete with the insanity of the 'event' which if it continues, will ultimately benefit nobody if common sense doesn't prevail.

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