Black Friday Online: The Predictions

Black Friday Online: The Predictions

Ah, Black Friday. Often one of the busiest times of year for online and in-store retailers, many businesses choose to offer huge discounts to encourage customers further. With shoppers thinking they’re getting great deals and retailers reaping the rewards, it feels like everyone wins on Black Friday (and don’t forget about Cyber Monday, the younger sister of the OG).

But with financial crisis looming across the UK and beyond, as well as turmoil in Ukraine, predictions for this year’s Black Friday (November 25th 2022) and Cyber Monday sales are looking a little different…

Black Friday statistics

Even before Black Friday begins, eCommerce retailers notice a trend in sales spiking. Many online stores choose to start their discounts early or showcase exclusive offers that customers would be unable to find in-store. Before we get into our predictions for Black Friday 2022, let’s look at some current statistics.

- Mobile sales top desktop sales by 20%, so make sure your website is optimised for mobile or you have an app
- Mobile traffic peaks in the evening and desktop traffic peaks in the morning (don’t forget about the worker bees)
- 2020 saw some record-breaking online Black Friday stats, due to the pandemic - a 76% increase in sales worldwide year on year 👀
- In 2021, the average UK shopper spent £275 during the Black Friday sales (however, this is expected to drop this year)

Black Friday and Cyber Monday predictions

Although we don’t see ourselves as clairvoyant (Mystic Meg, who?), we do think we have a knack for spotting trends in the eCommerce and logistics world.

This year is set to feel a lot different to others. Inflation, potential UK recession, and fuel costs are all contributing to a decline in online spend. When it comes to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, even the best deals might go unnoticed by money-strapped shoppers.

Online retailers need to be savvy with their marketing and create a seamless customer experience to ensure trust is gained (and maintained).

Online companies will start offers earlier - and end them later

Black Friday, although often pigeoned-holed as one day in the calendar, seems to get bigger and start earlier each year. Pre-Black Friday sales have become a gimmick, tempting shoppers with even more exclusive offers.

And with consumer spending habits predicted to be lower than ever this Christmas, more and more online retailers are beginning their Black Friday offers weeks before the actual date. This is a good way to shift excess inventory and make space for new stock.

Don’t expect to see any sales records broken

We’ve mentioned this already, but early indicators are highlighting that Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales will NOT break any records this year in terms of sales.

In fact, sales are expected to decline for the first time. With austerity looming over our heads, shoppers are being more mindful of their purchases, reducing unnecessary spend this Christmas (and all year round).

Of course, this isn’t to say that online retailers can’t be successful this season; it just requires a little extra marketing and preparation to ensure your message is clear and you have clear goals.

Customers experience and trust factors are top of the list

Following on from marketing and preparation, retailers will need to really evaluate their customer experience when buying online. Sustainability is high on a lot of individuals’ agendas, which means more research into the products they’re buying. Consumers are more focused on quality and value. Getting a good deal in a Black Friday sale just won’t cut it anymore.

Trust is also a huge factor this year. Customers will be more likely to use businesses they’ve bought from before, to limit the risk of losing money or buying bad products. Effective email marketing and retargeting to current and previous customers can help, but having a reliable shipping process is key.

The cost of living crisis will have a greater impact

According to some research, 20% of consumers are expected to have significantly lower budgets than normal for the Christmas period. With everything from fuel to groceries skyrocketing, it’s no surprise that consumers are cutting costs when it comes to gifts and shopping more sustainably.

However, consumers will also be looking for great deals. So although overall spending might be down over the festive season, customers are more likely to buy when they think they’re getting the best offer. This will make Black Friday and Cyber Monday more competitive, but likely to be the time consumers part with their cash.

Expected increase in Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL)

With so much doom and gloom, many consumers will take advantage of Buy Now, Pay Later initiatives to ensure that their loved ones don’t go without and the festive season can still be celebrated. In 2021, there was a 105% increase in BNPL payments compared to the previous year. With costs rising, we’re expecting this to increase even further for Black Friday 2022.

Offering consumers a variety of options, including payment and shipping, is key to securing sales around the Black Friday period.

Luxury brands will begin to offer Black Friday discounts

Historically, luxury brands opt out of participating in Black Friday sales - and rarely offer discounts at any other time of the year either. But with such a tumultuous year in terms of finance, even luxury brands are expected to reinvent themselves when it comes to Black Friday. Keep an eye out for some truly exclusive offers (but still don’t expect everyone to get involved…).

Luxury brands are also competing with luxury marketplaces, such as Net-A-Porter, Farfetch, and Selfridges, who will almost certainly take advantage of Black Friday to promote designer discounts.

Christmas marketing will be different this year

And lastly, festive advertising might feel a little different this year. We predict that many companies will err on the side of caution when it comes to the over-promotion of Black Friday, focusing on more wholesome and heart-warming ads and marketing, rather than pushing products (think John Lewis’ Christmas ads).

Marketing departments are also seeing budget cuts, so this means a tighter focus on audience and loyalty, not necessarily just brand awareness.

Fashion sector is primed to come out on top

Fashion is high on the list when it comes to top performers during the Black Friday sales. Retailers can take advantage of effective data lists and utilise promo codes or time-restricted (countdown timers) discounts. This is one of the industries that will thrive during Black Friday.

Remember, however, that luxury fashion brands have some of the highest basket abandonment rates, which solidifies our prediction that luxury brands may need to start participating in Black Friday sales.

Final thoughts

As with all predictions, the proof is in the pudding (or shopping in this case). We’re in a period of turmoil and austerity, which means being prepared for a different type of Black Friday and festive period. And the economic landscape is changing day by day (even sometimes hour by hour). Keeping an eye on trends and predictions is key to getting the timing right with your Black Friday offers.

However, with effective marketing and improved customer experience, it’s not unrealistic to still hope for a promising Black Friday and Cyber Monday.