Black Friday hits online sales rise

Published: Wednesday 14th January 2015 by The News Editor

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Black Friday has led to the lowest-ever growth in December online sales despite shoppers cracking the £100 billion barrier last year for the first time.

Online shoppers spent £104 billion in 2014 – up 14% on the previous year, according to figures from the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index.

The jump has led to IMRG and Capgemini forecasting online sales will increase by a further 12% this year to an estimated £116 billion.

Shoppers spent £21.6 billion over the Christmas period between November 2 and December 27 – up 13% on last year.

But e-retail during December was up just 5% on 2013 after Black Friday discounting led to huge volumes of sales activity in the final week of November.

An estimated £810 million was spent online during the November 28 Black Friday event, making it the biggest ever day for UK online sales, according to separate figures from Experian and IMRG.

The index shows that the greatest concentration of sales during the Christmas period, 17%, took place during the week of Black Friday.

Capgemini’s head of retail consulting, Adgild Hop, said: “2014 has been an important milestone for the online retail sector, with the £100 billion mark being exceeded for the first time.

“When we consider that almost £1 in every £4 is now spent online, and that a large proportion of the other £3 is influenced by some form of digital interaction, it becomes very clear that retailers need to continue to embrace the opportunity that e-retail poses.

“Additionally, we need to be cautious about the tendency of retailers to chase sales volumes at the expense of customer intimacy and profitability.

“Black Friday was unquestionably a success for the value-seeking consumer, but for retailers themselves, its success is not quite as clear.

“As the index reveals, spending was brought forward a month earlier, at much lower margins for retailers, as a result of the discounts available to customers in November.”

IMRG chief information officer Tina Spooner said: “While the 5% December online growth is lower than expected, the story of Christmas trading online this year is one of compression.

“The anticipated heavy discounting that was very widely communicated in advance of Black Friday served to concentrate the peak around that day in November.

“The challenge going forward is that Black Friday has been cemented into shoppers’ consciousness and they will expect the same kind of focused discounting next year. As an industry, we will need to work together to understand how this extreme activity spike can best be managed in the interests of both shoppers and retailers.”

John Lewis online director Mark Lewis said: “There is no doubt that this year highlighted a new shape of trade for the Christmas period.

“Black Friday was John Lewis’s biggest ever week for sales in our 150-year history. Online sales broke records on the day itself and during the early hours of trading there was a 300% increase in traffic to”

Published: Wednesday 14th January 2015 by The News Editor

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