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How do we think Black Friday will shape up in 2016


In the run up to the festive period, the anticipation of Black Friday’s impact on Christmas 2015 retail sales was high.

Based on our data, it is clear the dynamic of consumer shopping behaviour is changing, with week 48 becoming the most important of the year. In 2015, week 52 accounted for 4.2% of the total year’s sales based on our weekly leaderpanel, compared to 2.7% for week 53, the week following Christmas day, which has usually been seen as the traditional sale period.

However, this change in Christmas shopping behaviour has been shifting since long before Black Friday entered the UK market. We look at the way Christmas purchases have been changing over a number of years…thanks to the internet.  

The usability and functionality of transactional websites is becoming slicker, and when combined with increasingly reliable and fast paced delivery options, consumers have become accustomed to carrying out our Christmas shopping from the comfort of our own homes.

Online sales in December 2015 topped 30% (Major Domestic Appliances, IT, Small Domestic Appliances, Consumer Electronics), compared to December 2014, which saw 24% of sales via the internet. A little further back, in December 2010, just 19% of sales were made online, thus it is clear how important the online offerings are for consumers at Christmas.

Remarkably, Black Friday (week 48) didn’t have the highest percentage of sales to go through online. Black Friday week saw 33% of sales go through online; however, it was the week of Cyber Monday that actually saw the highest peak in online sales at 34%. 

Furthermore, if we compare online sales to in-store sales, all weeks in December declined in store year on year  (YoY).  However, online sales continued to grow from weeks 50 to 52, with week 52 peaking at 20% year-on-year growth, in comparison to the total market which declined 4.3% that week.  

The ever improving user-experience created by retailer’s means online is continuing to grow and shaping the way products are purchased in the UK.  

Source: GfK Point of Sales Tracking, UK market. * Year-on-Year (YOY) movements of Week 50 2015 vs. Week 50 2014 (Dates 6/12/2015 – 12/12/2015 vs. 7/12/2014 – 13/12/2014) Week 51 2015 vs. Week 51 2014 (Dates 13/12/2015 – 19/12/2015 vs. 14/12/2014 – 20/12/2014) Week 52 2015 vs. Week 52 2014 (Dates 20/12/2015 - 26/12/15 vs. 21/12/2014 - 27/12/2014). Week 53 2015 (Dates 27/12/15 - 02/01/2016).  Based on GfK monthly data – Dec 2010 (Dates 28/11/2010 – 25/12/2010, Dec 2014 (Dates 30/11/2014 – 27/12/2014)) Dec 2015 (29/11/2015 – 02/01/2016).