Black Friday might still be in its relative infancy in the UK, but that hasn't stopped retailers and shoppers alike from taking to it like an old tradition and seeing it become the key trading period in the UK retail calendar. While this year did see shoppers heading to brick-and-mortar stores, online sales accounted for a record breaking 48 per cent of total Black Friday sales.
According to new data from GfK, almost half of all sales occured online and this is due in no small part to sturdy websites which largely handled the increased traffic well, and the extension of the event.
Previous years had seen fervent shoppers heading to stores with the hope of discovering a bargain on the third Friday of November, but this year saw many marketing campaings and deals commencing in the weeks leading up to the 25th of November. In fact, while 2015 saw 71,000 price changes on Black Friday, 2016 saw only 16,000 when looking at the Friday compared with the day before.
The week of Black Friday saw the market grow by 6 per cent in value. This was fueled by online sales that grew by 21 per cent, with (as mentioned before) 48 per cent of sales going through online outlets.
The highest areas of growth came from tech products. Smart audio products grew a staggering 182 per cent year-on-year, driven largely by Amazon's widely publicised discount on its Echo speaker. Also growing were large screen TVs, at 60 inches and above, recording a 135 per cent growth. Wearables sales also grew by 60 per cent year-on-year.
Michael McLaughlin, head of retail at GfK, said: “Black Friday week has again recorded growth, although less in percentage terms than in previous years. Online has taken a further slice of the pie, and based on this could realistically be well over half the market next year.
"As always, questions now turn to how retail will perform over the Christmas period, and with the added complexity of Brexit and declining consumer confidence as we reported earlier this week, it will certainly be an interesting time ahead.”