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Black Friday sales surge signals boom in early Christmas shopping
Fri, 8th Dec 2023

In 2023, Black Friday sales experienced growth, yet the most significant rise was observed in the days and weeks leading up to the event. The data from eCommerce platform provider Visualsoft suggests that the shopping phenomenon is starting earlier each year.

These findings imply a considerable opportunity for retailers to capitalise on the Christmas period, with a need to begin the preparation for peak months in advance and implement comprehensive marketing campaigns to fully exploit the sales growth potential.

Data from 30th November 2023 reveals that Black Friday revenue escalated by 14% YoY, reflecting a steep increase in consumer expenditure and resilience from retailers during the anticipated challenging winter conditions. This uplift has been driven by a 12% increase in the number of orders, and a small 2% rise in the Average Order Value (AOV) compared to 2022.

During the four-day trading window from Black Friday to Cyber Monday, revenue rose above inflation rates. The average increase was 8%, with Black Friday and Cyber Monday revenue climbing by 14% and 15% respectively.

"We can see both Friday and Monday performed very well. Over the weekend while there were increases, they were very minor, and under inflation, which has dragged down the overall period sales, although it is still ahead YoY. But in a cost of living crisis and in an economic downturn this is still promising for retail," said Chris Fletcher, VP of Operations at Visualsoft.

Individual sectors experienced differing success rates. Flooring, rugs, and carpets saw a notable 88% YoY rise through the Black Friday - Cyber Monday period. Gifts, gadgets, and games improved their sales by 95% on the Saturday, giving them an average improvement of 30% for the sales period. Vaping sales improved by nearly 40% YoY. In contrast, electrical goods performed worse than last year, dropping by 31% over the same period, however, the sector saw a peak in sales prior to Black Friday. This suggests people were making purchases earlier to secure stocks following the challenges in previous years.

An increasing number of retailers are noticing higher digital footfall prior to Black Friday, an indication that shoppers are likely to spend more when they receive marketing about Black Friday in advance of the day.

Each year, on Black Friday, orders typically spike at midnight when many sites queue offers to go live. Visualsoft’s data then shows a rapid increase in orders from 6 am-10 am as people log on before work to grab bargains.

Despite the belief that consumers would be preferentially splitting payments with 'Buy Now Pay Later' schemes, Visualsoft's payment platform data indicates a clear preference for buying up front. Mobile usage also increased 3% YoY, showing that people are shopping on the go.

“What we’re seeing is that when retailers plan early, and with the right wraparound marketing campaigns, they can harness an appetite from consumers for deals right throughout November. The biggest success has come from our retailers who used drip feed email marketing and backed it up with deep discounts that are compelling,” said Ian Hyde, Head of Digital Performance at Visualsoft.

These trends suggest that strategic planning and the integration of advanced marketing strategies are key to maximizing sales performance during these peak periods.