Black Friday and Cyber Monday are around the corner! While consumers get ready to find the best bargains, more and more sales are migrating online. What used to be a phenomenon of US traditions has now become a global celebration. To this end, brands are champing at the bit to get their piece of the market with everyone vying for the top spot online.
Black Friday’s origins are surrounded in mystery but most origin stories point towards the 1950s. Police in the 1950s termed the phrase to describe the chaotic traffic the day after Thanksgiving. The headaches were multiplied on this day as officers had to handle the traffic, sporting events, and shoppers. This led to longer shifts and more crime, making it a tough day for Philadelphia’s law enforcement. Several decades, later this negative term became a national celebration. This celebration of consumerism has now grown into an international phenomenon.
‘Phenomenon’ is no exaggeration for Black Friday. It has expanded into days and weeks of sales that account for almost 17% of the year-over-year growth in the US alone. In the UK consumers roll out in force to spend an estimated £4.5 billion on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. This huge figure may give consumers anxiety as YouTube videos of stampedes and fights make it seem like Black Friday is more akin to The Purge.
However, it is surprising to note that only 21% of sales occur in store. 41% of all purchases take place on a laptop or desktop, with 31% completed on a mobile device. The convenience of ordering online is a major part of the day’s success.
Companies like Amazon and ASOS have started accounting for the huge increase in orders by spreading deals out over the space of a week. This eases any stress on their delivery chains by drip releasing deals. PwC discovered this in their in-depth analysis stating:
“Given the benefits to retailers of a more prolonged promotional period to reduce pressure on logistics and stores, and to help clear excess stock from a weaker-than-expected October, we’re already seeing more of a ‘Black Fortnight’ with many retailers already offering promotions over a week before Black Friday.”
This shows how integral an internet presence is to Black Friday. Whether an SME or larger corporation, consumers have started voting with their fingers and not their feet.
Cyber Monday is the much younger cousin of Black Friday. First coined by Ellen Davis and Scott Silverman in 2005, it came out of research that showed 77% of online sales increased in the Monday following Thanksgiving. Cyber Monday was a way for smaller companies to compete with large chains. By using e-stores they could reach a national and even international audience. Since then, countries and companies across the world have incorporated Cyber Monday into their sale calendars and extended offers over the entire Thanksgiving weekend.
Purchases over Cyber Monday remain constant with some sectors outperforming others. Popular purchases stay constant with 50% of sales attributed to electronics. Some way behind is clothing (30%), stocking fillers (26%), toys (18%), homeware (16%), health and beauty products (15%) and finally food and drink (7%). It is also interesting to note that Black Friday and Cyber Monday are a huge hit with men with the average spend per man outstripping women by 50% in the UK.
As if all this weren’t enough, there are still detractors who claim that these sales take away from Christmas. There is little evidence of cannibalism with the majority of sales made to buy for the self. In both men and women, this can be seen with 71% of men buying products for themselves and 55% of women treating themselves.
Whatever your feelings on this strange holiday, it is a must for any business trying to make a splash in their industry. This all starts with a digital strategy and a killer website. Be sure to update your website, ads, e-store and social media channels to get the attention of your market. If you need an extra hand get in contact and we’ll help you reach your audience.