Google research identifies shifts in online shopping behaviour ahead of the first digital-only Black Friday

The UK is on the cusp of its first wholly digital Black Friday event, in a year that has already seen online shopping and ecommerce play a growing role in consumers’ lives. As we enter what is traditionally the biggest retail peak of any year, UK retailers and small businesses are looking at how they can take advantage of the changing consumer habits to end the year strongly.

Google has identified a number of key shifts in online shopping behaviour during the pandemic which may help retailers reach consumers during this all-important period.

  1. UK Consumers are Christmas & Black Friday ready
    • In the UK, Google Search Trends data shows searches for ‘Christmas shopping’ are up 1800% as compared to the same period last year.
    • Google Search Trends data shows that the UK has the highest search interest for Christmas worldwide.
    • Searches for “early Black Friday” and “early Black Friday deals” are up 146% and 150% on last year, Google Search Trends data reveals.
  2. Consumers using their purchasing power for the greater good + open to change
    • 76% of UK consumers saying they’re open to buying from new retailers.
    • Global searches for “available near me” have grown 100%+ year-over-year, indicating a significant rise in the purpose-driven shopper.
    • 55% of UK consumers who plan to shop this Christmas have said they will shop more at local small businesses.
    • Based on new research by Google and YouGov, 88% of consumers who are now shopping more locally say they’re likely to continue to do so in the future.
  3.  Digital newcomers driving retail growth
    • Over 50% of consumers globally have discovered at least one new form of online shopping and claim they plan to continue.
    • 70% of UK consumers are planning to shop online more than they did in previous years during the Christmas Holidays.
    • As the pandemic has impacted shopping behaviours, we’ve seen searches for “online shopping” up +209% for the same period.

Becky Power, Director, Consumer Retail & Technology at Google UK“With people spending more time at home during the pandemic, retailers have been looking for ways to engage increasingly digital shoppers as people spend more time online. Not only do retailers need to prepare earlier for peaks, but ones that are wholly digital, like the upcoming Black Friday sales. Google research has shown 70% of UK consumers are planning to shop online more than they did in previous years in the closing months of the year. The message is clear; consumers are looking beyond traditional peaks in the shopping calendar as they continue to enjoy the flexibility of browsing online”

Last month Google announced a partnership with the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and launched a number of initiatives to put businesses back on the front foot. This includes Google for Small Business, a one-stop shop designed to help companies get started on the web and grow their digital presence and give access to free listings on the Google shopping tab.

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