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Black Friday online sales could break 1 billion pounds

By Danielle Wightman-Stone


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London - Black Friday this year is expected to become the UK’s first 1 billion pounds online shopping day, according to new research from digital commerce consultancy Salmon.

The global commerce agency has predicted that this year’s event on November 27 will grow 17.6 percent compared with last year, resulting in a 150 million pound sales uplifted, as there will be a 22 percent increase in online shoppers making a purchase on Black Friday following the success of last year’s event.

The report, which utilises research gathered in a recent eDigital survey, found that four times as many UK shoppers plan to buy online during this year’s Black Friday. With 30 percent of the 6,000 online shoppers surveyed stating that they plan to purchase something this year on Black Friday, compared with 8 percent of shoppers who said they had participated last year.

With the increased anticipation and awareness of Black Friday, Salmon is warning retailer that consumers are expecting them to up “the ante” this coming Black Friday, after many consumers found that stores were not prepared last year. A report by Hammerson/Conlumino stating that 65 percent of shoppers either agreed or strongly agreed that retailers “were not well prepared enough to cope with the demand on Black Friday”.

Salmon predicts Black Friday could break 1 billion pounds in online sales

With that in mind, Salmon said that online retailers should be aware of the issues that happened last year, with consumers met with site outages when trying to access the offers, slow browsing, and retailers implementing a holding page that led to frustrated buyers abandoning their purchases.

In Salmon’s report of last year’s Black Friday event it reveals that its clients websites showed a steady increase in traffic starting at 7am, with peak traffic happening around 9am as shoppers browsed for bargains at the start of the day. This dropped by 30 percent around 3pm and then saw an increase again at 5pm as online shoppers finished their working day. All sites also continued strong sales though to midnight and into the weekend.

Glen Burson, chief technology officer at Salmon, said: “Black Friday’s surge in sales in November 2014 threw traditional British pre-Christmas shopping habits into disarray. Shoppers, lured to online retailers with significantly discounted flash promotions, spent an estimated £810m online in a single day – almost 50% more than industry experts had predicted.”

Andrew Starkey, head of E-logistics at IMRG, the UK's association for online retailers added: “It's fair to say that Black Friday splits opinion, but the impact of it is so vast that it affects all retailers whether they run campaigns or not. The key points for industry to address are around how to smooth out the spike - even spreading it over a few days would make a massive difference.”

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