Sales rituals like Black Friday have transformed shopper expectations and behaviours. British consumers no longer expect to bag-a-bargain on Black Friday alone as they become savvy to retailers attempts to entice them from as early as October with pre-sale discounts, weekend deals, and early-bird offers – in effect extending the sales period so in many ways a “Golden Quarter” of shopping is now the norm.
Our research shows that shopping days peaked as early as the 7th and 15th of November, well before the cyber weekend. With an extended sales period, shoppers feel less pressured to splurge on a single day and are able to wait for the right price or item to be reduced. If this comes on Black Friday, then so be it but the ‘wait until Friday’ sentiment has lost something since the UK adopted the Golden Quarter sales extravaganza.”
Black Friday is still associated with horror stories of mad rushes in shops in America from years ago, and as shoppers continue to expect more of an omnichannel shopping experience, it’s no surprise that footfall may remain lower than expected. Our data found that last year over half (56%) were shopping for deals on their mobile, meaning that if retailers want a big spike on Black Friday, a seamless mobile experience is a must.
To combat low footfall UK retailers could take some lessons from Singles Day in China. Its success in recent years has shown how well the ‘treat yourself’ shopping concept works, especially with younger shoppers. Our research found that almost half of UK shoppers self-gift. While Singles Day itself doesn’t look set to make a big impact in the UK yet, applying similar principles could help retailers to boost in-store sales during the Golden Quarter.
By John Gillan
Managing Director, Northern Europe