Lack of brawling on UK’s Black Friday

Lack of brawling on UK’s Black Friday

So, you might have missed it, but Black Friday happened.

Last year we covered the chaos and fears that massive lines and falling profits bring. 2015 could not have been more different.

With much fanfare and no small amount of trepidation deals were rolled out and billions of pounds spent, but somehow without the violent and borderline riotous scenes of Black Friday 2014. In fact according to some reports, it was a non-event.

The change in atmosphere seems to stem from two main factors:

  1. Very few retailers restricted their deals to one day only (thereby removing the need to elbow anybody in the face)
  2. Online sales were up 36 per cent to £1.1bn (thereby removing the need to be near anybody at all)

Why the change?

If we take Asda’s word for it as a pioneer of Black Friday in the UK, people just weren’t going to have it.

Andy Clarke, Asda’s president and chief executive explained “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.”

As a result Asda, like many other retailers, has extended its winter discounts across several days or weeks instead of 24 hours of intense pressure and police intervention.

While this is a better deal for most consumers, the truth is that deep discounting is bad for retailers. It’s bad for profits and reveals the huge profit margins in place the rest of the year, which is bad for consumer trust

The rise in internet spending also meant a decline in physical customers for most retailers, with footfall across the UK for the weekend down 9.6 per cent, according to figures quoted by the Guardian.

What else happened?

Mobile made up 40 per cent of online spend and 60 per cent of online traffic in the US. Smartphone ownership is at similar rates in the UK and US, so it’s likely that the online explosion was in part due to an influx of mobile spend.

In store and online sales were expected to read £3 billion by the end of Cyber Monday

Amazon reported its biggest ever trading day with 7.4 million items sold.

That’s more or less it. See you next year. Or not.


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