Online giant Amazon UK predicts record numbers of shoppers to visit its site this year during 'Black Friday' and 'Cyber Monday,' while more and more UK retailers are beginning to jump on the kickoff to the holiday shopping bandwagon.
Both 'Black Friday' and 'Cyber Monday' are retail promotional events which originated in the US and traditionally occur the day after Thanksgiving, currently celebrated on the fourth Thursday of the month. 'Black Friday,' which falls on November 28, is said to be the kick start for the holiday shopping period, with many retailers offering specials discount and deals and is followed by 'Cyber Monday', which has grown into one of the largest online shopping extravagances.
Since Amazon first launched the pre holiday retail promotions in the UK in 2010, more and more retailers including the likes of John Lewis, Shop Direct and Asda have begun offering deals on the selected days. The promotional phenomena became even more widespread last year when Asda, owned by US retailer group Walmart, ran in-store flash promotions. This year's 'Black Friday' will see UK retailer Sainsbury's entering the game for the first with a number of discounts.
British retailers to cash in on 'Black Friday' and 'Cyber Monday'
“Black Friday took an incredible leap forward in 2013 with so many more customers taking advantage of the great deals on that day, resulting in sales of over 4 million items for the very first time in our history,” said Christopher North, managing director of Amazon.co.uk to the Telegraph. “This year, we are offering more deals and savings than ever before and we are expecting record numbers to benefit from Black Friday Deals Week.”
Amazon UK is planning on offering over 3,00 deals during the week in the run up to 'Black Friday', 10 times more than it offered during its first trial in the UK. The online giant has chosen not to reveal its promotions ahead of time, but adds that it will being advertising its deals from Monday, 24 November onwards and launch new promotions every 10 minutes to keep its offering fresh and enticing for customers.
Last year, Amazon UK reported record breaking orders of 4 million orders on 'Black Friday.' However this record was promptly broke on 'Cyber Monday,' when 4.1 million orders were placed, with 47 items being ordered per second. “While 'Cyber Monday' has always been our biggest single day for sales, the growing success of 'Black Friday' illustrates that it has become a much-anticipated date as the nation prepares for the festive season,” commented Xavier Garambois, vice president of EU Retail at Amazon.
Multi-brand online retailer Shop Direct is reportedly investing close to one million pounds in its promotional week during this year's 'Black Friday' and 'Cyber Monday' in the hopes of winning over price conscious consumers, running hourly promotions for its fashion arm Very.co.uk. The investment in promotional week comes after Shop Direct first Black Friday deal last year brought it a record number of order for Very.co.uk, with 10,000 orders made during its peak hour.
However, analysts remain torn this year as to which day will set new records for online sales, with 'Black Friday' continuing to set records which may later be broken by 'Cyber Monday' and 'Manic Monday,' the second Monday of December as more and more consumers putting their Christmas shopping off in the hopes of securing the best deal possible.
But it is not only online retailers who benefit during 'Black Friday' and 'Cyber Monday,' as high street retailers extend their offering from online to in-store as well. John Lewis will be running its own online and in store offers, around 100 deals, on 'Black Friday,' with stores opening at 8 am. “'Black Friday' has definitely become one of the key dates in the UK’s shopping calendar,” said Mark Lewis, online director at John Lewis.
“Following steady growth over the last few years, 'Black Friday' really emerged in the UK in 2013, when we saw the day break our previous records for a single day’s online trade. Now that customers are aware of the date and expecting it, we anticipate that this year’s 'Black Friday' will be bigger still. 'Black Friday' is changing the way our customers plan their Christmas shopping and we expect this year will see it come of age in the retail calendar.”
Asda was the first large retailer to offer in-store only discount last year during 'Black Friday' which resulted in 60 percent of its entire 'Black Friday' stock being sold out within two hours. “Customers told us they loved the amazing deals on offer, so we’re pleased to confirm that this year, we are again bringing Black Friday to the UK,” said the retailer in a statement. “We will see even bigger and better deals, so watch this space for further information on the great bargains on offer in-stores across the UK from November 28.”
The increasing success of these retail promotional days has encourage other retailers to jump on the bandwagon, with Sainsbury’s offering 'Black Friday' deals for the first time. The retailer is set to launch an advertising campaign promoting its deals and will offer deals, mostly on electrical on 'Black Friday,' and the following weekend in 481 stores. “This is the first time we have done it. We can’t tell you exactly what we will be putting into it, we want to keep that up our sleeves,” said Sainsbury’s non-food director James Brown.
“But we have seen what they do in the States...as part of the lessons learnt from the last autumn and winter season, we talked about how our customers are increasingly aware of the Black Friday event. We have been working on it for the past eight months. It is an event that has grown.”