Electricals lead the way in best ever Black Friday

This year’s Black Friday weekend was the most successful ever for online retailers and electricals led the way.

According to research from e-commerce and digital agency Visualsoft, which analysed more than 1,600 of the UK’s top online retailers, average site revenues were almost a quarter (23 per cent) higher than figures from a year ago.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that this year’s Black Friday helped to lift retail sales 1.6 higher in November 2017 than the year before.

Retailers reported that electrical household appliances contributed to the largest growth.

The quantity of electrical items purchased saw an 8.6 per cent month-on-month increase, with the amount spent increasing by seven per cent.

Said Rhian Murphy, ONS senior statistician: “Underlying retail sales growth remained reasonably strong in the last few months. Household goods stores had a good November, with a number of businesses saying that Black Friday promotions boosted sales.”

Rachel Lund, British Retail Consortium (BRC) head of retail insight and analytics, commented: “The retail sales figures from the ONS for November brought some good tidings, allaying fears that October’s weak data heralded a bleak festive period. Annual sales growth was up in volume and value terms, with Black Friday driving shoppers to spend a record one in five pounds online.

“However, retailers won’t be starting celebrations early. Behind the monthly ups and downs of the retail sales figures, growth in quantities sold has been trending downwards this year and November’s data has done little to change that. Inflation, fuelled by the fall in the pound, has eaten into real incomes, leaving households with budgets that won’t stretch as far. Consumers will therefore welcome lower prices than last year on some non-food ranges that retailers are offering.

“Nevertheless, with little sign of those dynamics changing any time soon, Christmas and the New year are likely to be a testing time for retailers.”

Online retail in particular felt an uplift from the Black Friday promotions, with data from ecommerce and digital agency Visualsoft revealing that average online revenues were up by almost a quarter (23 per cent).

This backed suggestions that consumers were opting to avoid the crowds during the event and shopping online, with the average number of orders on websites increasing by 15 per cent compared with Black Friday in 2016.

Despite household incomes feeling the squeeze, Visualsoft found that the average order value actually rose by five per cent.

Tim Johnson, chief sales officer at Visualsoft, commented: “Much of the talk pre-Black Friday focused on the rise of online retail, which has been definitively proven by these year-on-year results.

“Because of this, however, the online marketplace is now more competitive than it has ever been before. Considering that we’re now well into the holiday season, online retailers need to be keeping up this momentum to take full advantage of the opportunities afforded by the surge in demand at this time of year.

“Taking steps to increase average order value such as up-selling and cross-selling related products are an incredibly effective way to encourage customers to add more items to their baskets and spend more online. Something we’re seeing a lot of at the moment is a lack of promotional popups and on-site overlays, which drive engagement and increase consumer spend. We took out some research recently, showing that almost one in three retailers are not making use of these, which is a real missed opportunity.”