Highlights from 2018 Black Friday: The U.K Edition

 In Shopping

The promise of low prices and outrageous sales were in full effect this past Black Friday in the United Kingdom. Retailers such as Amazon, Argos, John Lewis, and Tesco took the shopping holiday as an opportunity to boost profits by slashing prices; however, the efforts had the reverse effect.

Applying consumer purchase data pulled using Jumpshot’s Insights platform, we tracked 2018 Black Friday in the U.K across seven gift-giving categories; Electronics, Appliances, Home & Home Decor, Toys & Video Games, Beauty, Sports, Fitness & Outdoors, and Jewelry & Accessories. The results showed a 14% decline year-over-year on Black Friday across all seven categories. In 2017, transactions for all categories totaled almost 1.5M; retailers cleared just over 1.2M in 2018.

Amazon was the leader of the pack this recent Black Friday with over 1.4M transactions. While Amazon’s sale volume count was close to the companies numbers in 2017, they saw negative growth YoY with a one percent decline. Argos came in second just behind Amazon and almost matched their 2017 transactions but also showed a one percent decline from 2017.

Marks and Spencer proved to be the real winner this past Black Friday with a 21% increase in sales transactions YoY. Marks and Spencer may have stumbled onto marketing genius by not blatantly participating in Black Friday for 2018. While the company offered sales during Black Friday, they did not engage in specific advertising for the commercial holiday or indulge in cheesy promotions for their sales. The iconic leader in retail has been in the online commerce trade since 1999 and the company was already in the minds of consumers as a trusted company. Sales were advertised on their website and this proved to be enough to tempt consumers.

Struggling retailer House of Fraser saw the greatest decrease YoY with a 76% decline in transactions YoY in 2018. Unlike Marks & Spencer, House of Fraser not only participated in Black Friday, but the retailer started the retail holiday a whole week early offering upwards of 60% off inventory that started on November 16, 2018. House of Fraser, faced with the heightened pressure to keep stride with Amazon in getting online orders to customers and to overdeliver on quarterly earnings estimates, tried to get ahead of the competition; however, they oversaturated the consumer with deals.

Too Many Tellys

The electronics and appliance categories saw the lowest decline in transactions YoY for Black Friday 2018. Appliances were down 19% compared to the transaction volume of 2017 and electronics sales volume declined 18% YoY. While the numbers lessened from 2017, the electronics category saw the most sales of any category on Black Friday 2018. Samsung was the leading brand, followed by Sony, Amazon, and Logitech. Smart speakers, TVs, audio equipment, mobile phones, and laptops were the big sellers. The brands that saw the largest boost over their average November 2018 sales were Garmin, Razer, YI, and VicTsing. Garmin showed a 29x increase in purchases on Black Friday over their November average. Gaming hardware maker Razer saw a 22x increase.

For retailers, Currys PC World saw the largest boost in sales Black Friday 2018 compared to the rest of the month of November 2018 with a 10x increase. Very had the greatest growth in the electronics category for 2018 with a 10% escalation in sales volume from 2017. Very offered consumers several options to make the most of their Black Friday shopping, including splitting payments into several installments, Click and Collect and Buy Now and Pay Later. These benefits attracted consumers as online shopping had a delayed effect on their wallets. Additionally, the eCommerce retailer found a new way to speak to their consumer by trying alternative forms of advertising by making a presence on high traffic streets across the U.K.

Game on

The toys and video game category was anything but a success for Black Friday 2018 with sales down 13% YoY. While the category was down as a whole, there were some retail winners who were able to see some growth. Very saw almost 100% growth in transactions Black Friday 2018 in this category. Argos and Curry PC World also saw an increase in sales volume, Argos with a 5% increase and Curry PC World with a 15% increase.

Amazon was down 13% from 2017 sales volume. While consumers did purchase over 200k toys and video games from the site, the highest sales volume count for the category, which is an impressive sales number, this total came up short to the success of 2017.

Noticeably down in 2018 was Tesco. The company had no completed transactions this past Black Friday. Of the customers who socialized on Tesco’s website, 29.2% also interacted on Argos and Amazon. 5.7% of the customers who ventured to Amazon completed purchases and 2.1% of browsers completed transactions on Argos. This was the first Black Friday after the company closed the Tesco Direct non-food online shopping department and centralized shopping. While consumers were still able to purchase non-food related items from the standard Tesco website, the shift in the consolidation of food and non-food products might have had a negative effect on their Black Friday sales.

The top brands in the toy category for 2018 were LEGO, who had tons of new releases in 2018, followed by Nintendo and PlayStation. While Nintendo Switch was released just in time for the holidays, the high price of the game consoles dissuaded customers, even with sales. Lego sales for Black Friday 2018 were more than double the sales count for Nintendo.

Add Some Flair to Your Flat

The home and home decor category was the only department to show growth Black Friday 2018 with a 2% increase in sales YoY. At the top of the list was retailer Wilko with a 235% increase in sales volume YoY. Additional leaders in the home and home decor category included The Orange, M&S, and Ikea.

Amazon saw negative growth this year with sales down 22% year-over-year. While Amazon saw negative growth, it was the head of the category, holding nearly 74% of the category share.

The top onsite search keywords were “coffee machines,” “duvet,” “curtain,” and “yankee candle,” “yankee candle gift sets,” and “pillows.” The leading brand was cookware and small appliance manufacturer Tefal.

No Turkey, No Gravy

Categories that traditionally are popular were also down Black Friday 2018 with jewelry sales down 6% YoY, beauty declined 4% YoY and sports and fitness dropped to negative 27% growth YoY. Jewelry saw even more of a decline on Cyber Monday with negative 14% YoY. Within this category, several domains struggled to get out of the red. The biggest decline in transactions in the jewelry category was with House of Fraser who had 92% loss in sales volume YoY. Amazon likewise saw a moderate decrease in sales volumes with a reduction of 16% YoY.

Both Black Friday and Cyber Monday were unsuccessful this past Holiday Season for beauty products. In fact, the Thursday prior to Black Friday and the Tuesday following Cyber Monday was more successful; sales volumes were strong with an improvement YoY.

Jumpshot’s Insights data illustrates that Black Friday and Cyber Monday and the weekend between, Cyber Week, is becoming a thing of the past in the U.K. As a whole, Cyber Week saw a drastic decline this past holiday season in all seven categories with sales down each day 11-15%.

The consistent downturn over the week is in stark contrast to the results for Cyber Week for the United States. Thanksgiving and Black Friday were still successful this past year in the U.S within all seven categories. Thanksgiving showed a 27% increase in growth YoY and Black Friday had an 18% boost in growth YoY.

There is a geographic difference in the way that Americans and British shop. It has been theorized that Americans prefer to shop online, while the British prefer to shop in person. While Americans are more inclined to take advantage of the quick ease of online shopping, U.K. shoppers prefer to price check at stores in person and make their decision after rather than only comparing online. This means marketing teams for online shopping will need to become more creative to entice the U.K to splurge like the U.S. The U.K. only bought at 12% the volume of what the U.S. did on Black Friday and barely 7% of what the U.S. purchased on Cyber Monday. 

View more articles relating to 2018 Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the U.S.

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