Nov 1, 2018
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Black Friday e-spend to rise in double-digits, deals to be seen all month

Nov 1, 2018

Black Friday is expected to generate another spending leap in the UK but, perhaps more importantly, it’s also expected to stage a November takeover with this month now being dubbed ‘Blackvember’.

UK retailers are subtly shifting into Black Friday mode from early November

Well, at least that’s what IMRG, the UK online retail association, is calling it and its interest in the event is understandable given how important online sales have become to Black Friday’s overall spend.

So, first the prediction. IMRG thinks that £1.54 billion will be spent online on Black Friday itself, which is a 13.2% increase. And £8.1 billion will be spent across ‘Black Friday Week’, which is a 12.5% rise.

But IMRG has also identified a trend for retailers to spread their deals out beyond that day and week, turning the whole of November into a deals-focused shopping period and further shifting festive spending out of December and into November.

That doesn’t necessarily mean there’ll be deals being heavily promoted everywhere though, as that shift is being achieved “sometimes subtly, sometimes explicitly” throughout the month.

IMRG said the last five years have seen a general expansion of the Black Friday concept to take in more days as online retailers work hard to maximise interest and also to ease the pressure on their operations, such as delivery and site traffic.

“This means that there is no consensus on campaign durations. ‘Black Friday’ has no real start or end and can apply to any period technically,” it added.

It also said that the last two years in particular have seen many online retailers soft-launching their Black Friday campaigns by promoting deals that reference the big event but don’t form part of an official campaign. This focus on the Black Friday build-up might see them subtly changing parts of their site pages to become black (such as a recoloured buy button), to almost subliminally get consumers thinking Black Friday and subtly conveying that current deals are of Black Friday proportions.

The company monitored 210 retail website every day last November and found that at the start of the month, over 60 already had discount campaigns running, with some offering markdowns of 20% to 50%. The numbers built gradually over the month and spiked on the day itself. 

Of course, the challenge this year has been that the wrong weather conditions and general consumer caution mean that so many fashion stores have been marking their goods down already. “The number offering heavy discounts early in November may be higher this year,” IMRG said. 

And it added that this change in the approach to Black Friday also affects how and when retailers market Christmas. It seems that many switch to Christmas mode in early November, then switch away to focus on Black Friday and the level of percentage-off deals they’re offering mid-month, becoming noticeably festive again after Cyber Monday.

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