Seasonal promotions are one of the core reasons consumers make a purchase. The importance of good deals to consumers can be clearly seen in GfK’s weekly long-term sales trends for Technical Consumer Goods. GfK has found that about a quarter of cumulative global sales come from select promotional events that only take place during 10 weeks of the year. Of course, there are regional differences, but Christmas, Singles’ Day and Black Friday dominate the promotional calendar in many countries around the world.
Every year, Black Friday falls on the Friday after Thanksgiving in the US, which is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November. This year’s Black Friday takes place on the latest possible date, 29th of November: right after payday and only three weeks before Christmas. As a result, many consumers will already feel the pressure to buy gifts and, probably more importantly, will have money to spend on Black Friday deals. For some shoppers, this might be the first time that they can go bargain hunting without having to organize a loan before making their purchase. This year’s Black Friday could well set new sales records thanks to its timing.
Traditionally, the Friday after Thanksgiving has been regarded as the beginning of the United States’ Christmas shopping season. Today, both in volume and value, Black Friday is bigger than the original peak trading periods including Christmas and the January sales – and it continues to grow. Our Weekly Point of Sales Tracking shows that Black Friday week in 2018 generated more than double the turnover (+113%) of an average selling week across the EU5 (France, Germany, Italy Spain, UK) markets. For those countries plus Brazil, Black Friday is the most important week of the year in terms of sales value generated. Latin America has seen unprecedented peak sales during Black Friday.
In general, consumers love bargains and they are actively looking for them. shows that with the ease of making price comparisons online, a growing number of consumers shop around before making a purchase decision. Globally, nearly half of all consumers (44%) have increased the frequency they compare prices from different stores. This is true for 58% of shoppers in Latam, 45% in Europe, 41% in APAC and 35% in North America. And this is what makes Black Friday so successful and important – but retailers need to make sure the price drops are genuine in this environment of comparing prices.
And our research shows that a significant proportion of shopping decisions might be driven by consumers wanting to treat themselves. A growing number of shoppers state that they want to “indulge or pamper themselves on a regular basis” or that they “prefer to own fewer, but higher quality items” or they “only buy from trusted brands”. These types of shopper attitudes give an indication of what aspirational bargain hunters could be looking for on Black Friday.
Black Friday has become an essential part of the annual retail calendar for deal-loving shoppers. So for retailers, it’s a question of “do or die”. To “do” it successfully, it’s important to understand the nuances of purchase behavior and shoppers’ attitudes. To make this key event in the “golden” quarter of the year deliver for your business, manufacturers and retailers alike need accurate weekly point of sale data to evaluate performance and plan tactics. In today’s competitive retail environment, it’s vital to respond quickly to consumer purchase behavior and competitor offers.
And in the more mature markets, we’re seeing a trend in retailers and manufacturers finding new strategic answers on their quest to make Black Friday profitable despite the challenge of meeting consumers’ demand for bigger and better bargains. This trend is called “Premiumization” and it could transform Singles’ Day, Christmas and the rest of the 2019 shopping season.
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