Online takes almost half of Black Friday sales

The week of Black Friday saw online sales increase 48 per cent – a 21 per cent increase in value, according to GfK. Total market value [all channels] grew by six per cent.

By comparison, Black Friday week 2014 achieved 33 per cent online participation, growing to 41 per cent in 2015. According to GfK, without the online growth, the market would have been in negative territory, with bricks-and-mortar stores recording a 6.1 per cent decline in value.

The highest growth areas came from technology, with one of the best performers being smart audio products – which included wireless multi-room speakers – growing by 182 per cent year on year.

Large-screen TVs also saw strong growth, with 60in or above seeing a 135 per cent uplift. Handstick vacuum cleaners saw a 40 per cent increase in value.

The week as a whole was busier than the week preceding Black Friday, with 22.7 per cent growth week on week, with almost 40 per cent of this growth coming from online sales.

GfK claimed that that the event as a whole was more ‘orderly’, which was a result of many marketing campaigns and deals starting in the weeks leading up to Black Friday (November 25).

GfK’s Online Pricing Intelligence found that 71,000 price changes occurred on Black Friday 2015 when compared with the day before. However, this year saw only 16,000 price changes versus the Thursday (24) recorded.

This showed how retailers were already geared up and using sales promotions before the big day itself, it said.

It also reported a seven per cent decline in value and a 10.8 per cent drop in volume when compared with the same week last year. This indicates that while retailers are starting promotions earlier it is yet to generate the market gains hoped for, it claimed, as many consumers still wait until nearer Black Friday to get what they assume will be the ‘best deals’.

Michael McLaughlin, head of retail at GfK, said: “Black Friday week has again recorded growth, although less in percentage terms than in previous years. Online has taken a further slice of the pie, and based on this, could realistically be well over half the market next year. As always, questions now turn to how retail will perform over the Christmas period, and with the added complexity of Brexit and declining consumer confidence as we reported earlier this week, it will certainly be an interesting time ahead.”