Black Friday by the Numbers: The Statistics Behind the Biggest Shopping Day in the World

Black Friday by the Numbers

Black Friday is just a few weeks away, with shoppers and retailers everywhere gearing up for the event. Many have a love/hate relationship with it. On one hand, it can drive some major sales for businesses and customers can get some great pre-Christmas bargains. Yet, its popularity and size causes challenges for businesses as well. Notably in managing the scale of a Black Friday sale, of standing out from the crowd and meeting customer expectations.

As the saying goes, knowledge is power. Knowing the key statistics behind Black Friday is the first step in making the event work for your business.

Just how big is Black Friday?

Every year the headlines seem to scream that Black Friday is bigger and better than the year before. It can be difficult to accurately assess the size and popularity of the day – especially beforehand. Unfortunately, that’s probably the time you’d find that information most useful when working out if your business should take part or how to prepare.

In the UK, 2017 sales jumped by 11.7% to just under £1.4 billion. The event has been rising in popularity in the UK, being a U.S. import. If UK business owners expected Black Friday fever to die down after its trip across the pond, it’s showing little sign of abating. Those that may have previously ignored the day, should be sitting up and paying attention to it now.

How to get a piece of the pie

But with large retailers dominating many of the sales, how can a small business get a slice?

Going mobile is a major tactic for any business looking to get an edge. Smartphone shoppers made up 64% of Black Friday sales in 2017. Online has also been driving many sales. In other words, if your Black Friday sale isn’t online or on mobile then you’re missing out on a lot of potential business.

Of course, if you’re holding an online sale you should prepare and test your infrastructure beforehand. Your website needs to be responsive so that it offers a good user experience across all devices from smartphones to desktops. You should also stress-test it to ensure that your website won’t crash on the day.

If your business doesn’t have the resources or time to bolster your website, then there’s always third party sites like Etsy and Amazon. In fact, Amazon had the lion’s share of Black Friday sales. 45-50% of online sales were on the platform earning over $1 billion in 24 hours. Aligning your business with a larger e-commerce site could be a good tactic if your target audience already shops there.

Marketing to stand out from other businesses is crucial but can be hard to do on a budget. But there are many ideas out there to suit every company, from producing an online gift guide to creating a dedicated app or hosting an event.

Who are Black Friday shoppers?

Which brings us to the topic of who actually shops on Black Friday. In terms of gender, it’s almost a 50/50 split. 50.4% of females shop on Black Friday compared to 45.1% of males (the rest weren’t identifiable).

Despite the rise in online sales, people are still keen to shop offline. 16% exclusively headed to the stores and 75% did a mix of online and in-store shopping. For business owners with bricks-and-mortar stores, it’s imperative to link the online with offline Black Friday events. Share what’s happening in-store online through your social media channels, offer online exclusive coupons to show in-store or run a competition.

The ritual of Black Friday is powerful

In the U.S. shoppers buy-in more into the ritual of shopping on Black Friday compared to UK shoppers. Which offers an opportunity for retailers. Black Friday is an event, so any business taking part needs to make it feel special. In that way, it excites shoppers and becomes an annual occasion that they look forward to.

A good example of this is shown by Black Friday mammoth Amazon. On both Prime Day and Black Friday, it offers exclusive and time-limited deals to shoppers. Seeing the deals before they are unlocked increases anticipation and making them limited encourages customers to buy instantly.

Black Friday is no longer a one-day event

Speaking of time, the length of Black Friday now extends beyond the day itself. There’s Cyber Monday, of course, and many businesses run their sales over the weekend as well. Extending a sale will obviously draw in more revenue, but if this is your first Black Friday then it’s worth focussing on the main event and ensuring this is trouble-free.

Consumers will often start their shopping early, with 80% of shoppers doing some kind of research into things they want to buy before purchasing. Many will also compare prices for the same product online and even when they are in-store to ensure that they’re getting the best deal. So make sure that your pricing is clearly displayed on your website and continuously track competitors’ prices if you can. Publishing discounts before Black Friday can increase anticipation for your sale and also attract new customers researching online.

Add numbers to your bottom-line

Taking part in Black Friday can pay-off for every business, with a little careful planning and prior knowledge. The day is lucrative in both the U.S. and UK. Especially if you understand the behaviour of Black Friday shoppers. Put up information beforehand to attract the customers who are researching beforehand, track what your competitors are doing and (if appropriate) do a mix of offline and online events.

The success of your Black Friday relies on your knowledge of the event and your target market. It also hinges on your preparation. Do the legwork now and the day will run much more smoothly for your business. Start today – the event is only a few weeks away so time is of the essence.

Black Friday Stats: The Infographic

Want to learn more about Black Friday’s success and the stats behind it? Check out our handy infographic that delves into the facts and figures of Black Friday.

black friday infographic

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