Black Friday is now the biggest shopping day of the UK holiday season

black friday

Online revenues around Black Friday alone are expected to hit £901 million this year, driven by aggressive sales promotions and its proximity to the majority of peoples’ final pay day before Christmas. 

Consumer activity around both Black Friday and Cyber Monday shows no sign of abating, with spending growth on these two days outpacing annual average growth in the UK by 50 per cent.

Increasing its dominance of the holiday season over the past three years, Black Friday has reshaped the pattern of holiday spending in the UK, with online sales tending to peak before the start of December and then leveling out through to Boxing Day. This is in contrast to countries like France or Germany, where holiday shopping is spread more evenly throughout December, particularly on weekends in the run-up to Christmas.

No sign of consumers cutting back post-Brexit

Despite recent economic uncertainty in the UK, consumers show no signs of slowing their spending. They are expected to spend £24.3 billion online during this holiday season, which is up £2.46 billion since last year. Furthermore, they are expected to spend 60 per cent more per day, on average, during the shopping season than during other times of the year. The expectation of lower prices is still the dominant reason why UK consumers shop online, although price sensitivity amongst UK shoppers has decreased by 11 per cent since 2015.

Retail websites across Europe are seeing close to nine out of ten visitors come from within their own country during the holiday season; but UK sites receive higher traffic in comparison to other countries, with around one in five visitors coming from outside of the UK.

Mobile shopping on the rise – peaking on Christmas Day

Data from the last three years points to the growing importance of mobile shopping during the UK festive season, with smartphone holiday sales expected to surpass tablet sales for the first time this year, and smartphone shopping expected to account for 20 per cent of total holiday revenue. Smartphones will account for 41 per cent of holiday browsing in the UK overall; and, of the 13 countries surveyed in the ADI study, the UK is expected to have the highest mobile usage, together with Japan, during the holiday season. Across Europe, one in four US dollars spent on holiday shopping will be generated from a mobile device.  

Meanwhile, Christmas Day is surpassing Black Friday as the biggest mobile shopping day of the season. Across 13 countries surveyed, including the UK, it is expected to account for 58 per cent more mobile revenue than Cyber Monday and 34 per cent more than Black Friday.

Search advertising top method to reach festive shoppers

When it comes to grabbing consumer attention around shopping deals, marketers can continue to expect search advertising to be UK shoppers’ most likely source for bargains, with 27 per cent of them ranking it as their top source for price deals and bargains during the holiday season. Email, however, remains an important source of information, ranking second in the UK at 23 per cent, and first in the US.  

John Watton, EMEA Marketing Director at Adobe, comments: “In just three short years, Black Friday has radically reshaped consumer spending over the Christmas period in the UK. The challenge for brands is further exacerbated by the rapid growth in mobile browsing and spending, with more time-pressed Brits turning to online shopping to avoid traffic and queues. It’s more important than ever that retailers deliver consistent, easy and compelling experiences on every single device that a customer uses in order to avoid missing out on their share of the growing online spend. Consumers are more spoilt for choice and well-informed than ever, and they’ll quickly go elsewhere if they’re not getting the experience they want.”