We thought we would take a trip to the dark side this week and look at Black Friday shopping. As predicted, Singles Day in China broke all previous records with online marketplace AliBaba reporting sales of S17.8bn for the day, a 32% increase on the previous year. Hard to put a number like that in perspective but according to market-research firm eMarketer, if Singles Day were a country and we ranked sales of that one day against annual e-commerce sales of countries around the world, Alibaba’s Singles’ Day would rank as the 11th largest country in the world, just ahead of Brazil and just behind South Korea. Crazy eh, one day’s ecommerce in China is worth more than the whole year in Brazil. Does that mean we should expect a similar block buster for our own Black Friday shopping event on November 25? Black Friday 2015 marked a milestone: Some 103 million Americans shopped online over the Thanksgiving-Black Friday weekend, slightly more than the 102 million who went out to stores, according to our National Retail Federation. Together, shoppers spent $4.45 billion online on Black Friday and Thanksgiving Day.
This year will almost certainly be another record for Black Friday shopping with Amazon leading the way and extending the sales period to a week or longer. As they say on their website “we kicked off the savings a little early. We are counting down to the big day with even more deals all day, every day”. And Forbes offer some more ideas on the best bargains. However, last year the New York Times researched Black Friday Shopping deals. Their conclusion; only about 0.6 percent, or 200 out of the approximately 34,000 deals online, which typically carry the same price tags inside retailers’ physical stores, will be good ones on Black Friday. “There are just more deals on that day than any other day of the year…..But for the most part, the deals aren’t anything better than what you’d see throughout the rest of the year.” And according to website BradsDeals.com, which tracks holiday discounts, most of the items in your average Black Friday circular don’t really change from year to year. The same favorites are sold year to year.
In a recent survey shoppers were questioned who had previously bought on Black Friday and 10% said they would be staying up late to buy between midnight and 3am on November 25. This corresponds to last year when, in the first 3 morning hours of Black Friday, Hitwise recorded a 75% increase in daily visit share. The majority of shoppers though are likely to browse in the evening, with the highest proportion of shoppers looking at retail sites online between 8pm to 10pm last year.
US retailers are keen to spread the shopping peak and get people to buy early. However a report from LCP Consulting questioned more than 100 retailers in the UK and US. Over 60% of UK traders questioned saw Black Friday as an unprofitable and unsustainable promotion, up from 32% who felt that way in 2015. So maybe Black Friday won’t catch on elsewhere. If you are planning to stay up late and do your Christmas shopping you better get a nice warm fleece adult onesie then read this; a study by online marketplace Flubit.com, found that one in 20 people had bought goods online after consuming alcohol. Among the most bizarre drunken purchases revealed were a didgeridoo, a plastic croaking frog, two turtles and a snake while the most expensive drunken purchase was a $10,000 Volvo.