Black Friday Weekend UK Results: Online Sales Rise Despite Footfall

Online retailers were the real winners of the Black Friday weekend in the UK, but high street retailers also saw positive results.

Overall spend went up compared to last year, despite the fact there were fewer feet on the street and a dip in web traffic compared to other years.

Spend

Shoppers were predicted to spend over £2.5 billion on Black Friday in 2017.

Barclaycard, who process nearly half of the UK’s debit and credit card transactions, said that spending was up 8% on last year.

Shopper Trends

Between midnight and 7am, the number of shoppers online was 24% lower than 2016 – but this is likely to be down to sales going live before the weekend itself.

PCA Predict said that there was an 11% rise in shopping over the previous week. However, by 5.30pm, the number of shoppers had increased 3% year-on-year.

Results

John Lewis also stated that it was one of the most successful sales. It said it had the busiest single hour of online trading it has seen. John Lewis also said its online store had crashed due to shoppers trying to price-match early offers, and find their own bargains on the site.

John Lewis achieved a daily sales record – the sales rose 7.2% in the week to the 25th of November, compared to the same week last year. This hit a weekly high of £214.3m.

Argos stated that 2 million people visited the site in 4 hours after launching the Black Friday sale on Thursday night.

The Argos Chief Executive said:People are clearly buying their big Christmas presents, as we’ve seen a real spike in sales of video games and consoles as well as iPads and TVs.”

The high street

There was a 3.6% fall in visitors to high streets, retail parks and shopping centres according to Springboard.

However, Ipsos Retail Performance said that UK footfall on Black Friday was up 0.95% YOY, with 42% of retailers seeing footfall growth.

By the middle of the afternoon, number of visitors to shopping centres, retail parks and high streets in the country was down by 8% – as the fact offers and sales were spread across the week has spread out the shopping habits.,

Fewer shoppers hit the high street compared to last year, which shows a continuation of recent trends to start shopping online. John Lewis did explain how the shops became busier as the weekend progressed.

Many supermarkets have avoided offering prices on the day itself only in-store, in order to avoid the chaos that has happened in previous years. This was done by either not taking part in the event whatsoever, or just having limited deals.

Products

John Lewis said popular searches included iPads and Sonos speakers.

John Lewis also said beauty products were popular, with sales up 27.5%. Electrical items were up 9.7%, while women’s fashion was up 8.3%. Sales of homeware fell 2.1%, but this was due to a focus of the sale in other areas.

Kitchen cabinets and furniture also fell, which shows how expensive purchases of big household items reflects the economy and housing market.

Sofa beds and Creed perfume at £207 a bottle were also high on the shopping list at John Lewis.


The real question retailers will now be pondering is how the Christmas sales will go. As the Black Friday sales have been a success overall, the longer sales period that is usually a few days may impact how people shop both on the high street and online.

It’s likely Black Friday attracts most of the consumers looking for bargains, but in the run up to Christmas it’s expected footfall will slowly build and there will be a resurgence just before Christmas.