Black Friday: Are we already seeing changes?

As we now enter the month of November we are getting ever closer to the most important day in the retail calendar Black Friday, or are we?

Over the past three years this single day has represented the most important day in the retail calendar. However we are already seeing through early communication from retailers that the focus may not be just on this single day.

We saw last year that some retailers decided to extend their online Black Friday period to include the days preceding Black Friday and a lot of the early announcements from retailers are that this theme is going to continue. We are seeing that not only is the actual day of Black Friday important but also the whole week is now the focus of sales with retailers trying to get the upper hand by offering discounts earlier and earlier. The movement of sales is also seeing an extension of Black Friday as well with some retailers offering discounts further into the month and also the all-important cyber Monday.

The importance of online for Black Friday was shown in 2016 where we saw a higher level of online sales with an increase of +21% in volume and value of sales year on year. 2016 has seen retailers going a step further online by offering on their websites an option to sign up to notifications to let consumers know during the day what deals are happening and when. This enables retailers to make discounts and offers for a limited time on Black Friday (sometimes only a couple of hours) which will potentially increase the need to purchase.

Overall we are already seeing changes in how this year’s Black Friday will be played out. As offers are now being extended could we see year on year sales start to slow down? Is the day of Black Friday itself starting to lose importance or are we going to see the new focus of online sales bring an increase in sales over this period?

* 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 48 2014 (Dates 22/11/15 - 28/11/15 vs. 23/11/14 - 29/11/14) which includes Black Friday. Week-on-Week (WoW) comparisons refer to Week 48 2015 vs. Week 47 2015 (Dates 22/11/15 - 28/11/15 vs. 15/11/15 – 21/11/15). All figures are in value unless otherwise stated.