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Black Friday predictions: what can we expect?

Sarah Cole
Sarah Cole

With Black Friday making headlines and racking up column inches across retail titles and national newspapers this week, we’ve pulled together our top three predictions about just what we can expect tomorrow:

Out and about

Shopper traffic in-store is predicted to fall by up to 4% year on year this Black Friday.  FootFall, the leading retail intelligence specialist, suggests that this decrease will be due to the longer length of the event this year, as retailers such as Amazon, Halfords and Littlewoods are stretching Black Friday deals over a week rather than a single day.

FootFall suggests another contributing factor to the decline in shopper traffic could be disappointing customer experiences from Black Friday 2014. Many retailers struggled to deal with customer demands – from lengthy queues in-store and issues to fulfilment and delivery bottlenecks following the event.

Loose online purse strings

While in-store traffic might take a hit, the same can’t be said for online sales, if Visa Europe is to be believed.  The payments brand predicts ecommerce purchases will reach £1.9billion this year, significantly rising from last year’s spend of £1.7billion on Black Friday.

However, many retailers’ websites crashed in 2014 under the weight of customer traffic – and Argos has already experienced downtime this year following the launch of its ’12 days of Black Friday’ promotion. Shoppers are unlikely to withstand a similar poor experience tomorrow, and will click away to another, more reliable website rather than wait for a bargain.

The aftermath

The huge onslaught of sales could prove smoke and mirrors for retailers’ profitability. Clear Returns, a returns intelligence company, suggests that £160million of stock will be returned post-Black Friday.

This will in turn result in ‘out of stock Saturday’ on December 12th, where products will be caught in the ‘returns loop’ with unavailable for purchase, eating into Christmas sales margins.

All we can do now is to sit tight – perhaps grab a cheeky bargain! – and wait to see how those till bells ring and Christmas 2015 spending kicks off with abandon. We’ll be covering all the Black Friday fallout through our sister website, Retail Connections.

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