Black Friday & Cyber Monday, long a North American tradition, is becoming a British one, too
Black Friday and Cyber Monday, generally considered distinctly North American traditions, have quickly crossing the ocean and taken UK digital retailers by storm. Despite not celebrating Thanksgiving in the last month of November, UK retailers seemed to have adopted the retail trends, as consumers made sure to hit the web to kick start their Holiday shopping.
These deep discounts and heightened promotions might seem odd seeing as they are centered around an American holiday, however, as global trade and media events have filtered their way across the pond, so too have American traditions and leading retailers. Although these sales are still seen as arbitrary for UK brick-and-mortar stores, digital retailers seem to have embraced the trend in an effort to provide UK Holiday shoppers with an added incentive to shop online.
Original estimates of UK sales for these ‘shopping holidays’ pegged spending at £ 555m, however numbers released by IMRG show Britons shopping on Black Friday alone, spent an estimated £ 810m.
Holiday retail sales patterns have even predicted that Black Friday-Cyber Monday sales might even overtake what is traditionally known as the biggest online retail day in the UK – Boxing Day. The number of shoppers on Cyber Monday alone (145m) has surpassed the total number of Boxing Day shoppers in 2013, which rang in at 129 million.
UK retailers saw promotions from over 250 branded retailers, more than doubled that of last year. As Barclays reports, some 65% of UK Retailers polled had planned to hold Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales online this year, a significant increase from years past.
Many retailers noted record-breaking success this year, including retailers such as Tesco, Asda, Argos and John Lewis, who reported an increase in sales over last year’s Holiday. Amazon.co.uk recorded its busiest sales day ever in the UK, reportedly selling 64 items a second on Black Friday, with shoppers ordering more than 5.5 million items.
So what does this all mean for UK digital retailers? As the internet is quickly becoming the favored shopping destination in the UK, retailers will need to focus on making their websites as accessible as possible. As more consumers turn to their tablets and mobile devices, it will be critical for websites to be multi-device friendly. Additionally, investment into search technology becomes critical in turning browsers into buyers. With thousands of deals in the market, research indicates if a consumer cannot find what they are looking for on your website in 8 seconds, they will leave. Thus, search becomes a fundamental tool in turning all those Holiday Shopping visitors into purchasers.
With North American sales on Cyber Monday hitting 2.038 billion, it will be interesting to see if our UK counterparts will embrace our North American shopping trend in the years to come. . Until then, an increasing number of consumers will continue to log onto their devices and shop from the comfort of their own homes with heightened global retail competition.