How the pattern of Christmas trading has changed in recent years – GfK POS Tracking

There’s no doubt that since the introduction of Black Friday in the UK and the subsequent years that followed, the shape of Christmas trading has changed. Both retailers and manufacturers have had to embrace this, in an attempt to ensure they retain and grow their slice of the pie during the key final quarter of the calendar year.

The question we are always asked in January is what impact has Black Friday had on Boxing Day sales for the key technology and electrical markets measured by GfK POS tracking?

The week following Boxing Day was historically the biggest sale event of the retail year. Looking back to 2013, Black Friday week (which was nothing like it is today) recorded 8% higher sales in value than the Boxing Day week. The following year, Black Friday week was 23% larger in value than Boxing Day week and the trend continues.

Here are some comparisons of the 2 events in 2016 based on our POS data:

  1. The week of Boxing Day is now worth just over 55% of the sales value of Black Friday week. Internet sales are worth 60% more in Black Friday week than Boxing Day week
  2. Black Friday week 2016 grew by 6% YoY in value, driven primarily by online sales which contributed 21% of the growth, and took a record breaking 48% of the total sales. In the Boxing Day week, sales declined by 9% YoY in value. (It should of course be noted that the days move from year to year, and 2016 was a leap year)
  3. Volume is a different picture; both weeks show a negative YoY trend; Black Friday week at -2.6% and Boxing Day week more so at -15.4%
  4. Looking at price, at a topline level Black Friday produced higher ASPs, being 11.5% higher than Boxing Day. As we’ve said before, Black Friday isn’t just about low priced deals; it’s about deals across the price spectrum, including mid to high end products.

Whilst Boxing Day week sounds negative in terms of comparing it to Black Friday, we should point out that it is still the busiest week of trading in December for the categories we track weekly.

Moving into individual product groups, if we look at one of the biggest winners of 2016, Turntables, we see that Boxing Day sales were less than a third of Black Friday week in value. This trend continues in IT, where Desktop computers sold just over half the Black Friday week value during Boxing Day week. Moving away from technology, an area where the gap is not so large is vacuum cleaners, which were only 3% higher in value sales during Black Friday Week.

I suspect this information will come as no surprise to retailers and manufacturers alike, however it’s worth pointing out the increasing delta between the 2 events. The opportunities are different now to what they were a few years ago, and the GfK POS weekly data is a good way to understand the movements in these markets, across a wide range of product groups.

* GfK point of sales tracking data, UK market. All figures are based on GfK's weekly leader panel, growths are comparing YoY (Year-on-Year) movement of Week 48 2015 vs. Week 47 2016 (Dates 22/11/15 - 28/11/15 vs. 20/11/16 - 26/11/16) and Week 52 2016 vs Week 53 2015 (Dates 27/12/15 – 02/01/2016 vs 26/12/16 – 31/12/2016) All figures are in value unless otherwise stated.

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