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Black Friday and Cyber Monday: Trends and Data to Inform your 2019 Plans

Black Friday and Cyber Monday have become a staple part of the festive season. The date gained notoriety after footage of frenzied US bargain-shoppers graced our screens in 2014; five years later it is now a key fixture in any retailer’s calendar. 

Black Friday and Cyber Monday can either be the making or breaking of retailers, depending on how meticulously they prepare. So what are the key sales trends to look out for on 2019’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday? 

The Victors will Take Risks on Social Media 

In 2018, the average time spent on social media per internet user was 136 minutes per day. Of course, we don’t need to persuade you that social media is king for sales. However, in a noisy marketplace in an even noisier political atmosphere, retailers need to make sure their voices are heard. This means retailers should think about relaxing their fixation on Return on Investment in favour of metrics that indicate a brand’s share of voice.

This year brands will create automated, personalised services that will sway the indecisive shopper. Whoever masters this omnichannel approach – consistently, both online and instore – will win the day.

The Brexit Factor 

As Brexit uncertainty looms over festive shoppers this year, many may well tighten their purse-strings. Retailers will be affected by this uncertainty and are predicted to offer increasingly aggressive deals to stand out in the market. We may also see a decline in growth of electrical product sales, as shoppers may pursue smaller ‘treat’ items over larger, expensive products. 

However, a delayed 2020 Brexit - currently the most likely scenario - may mean that shoppers who were expecting increased costs might be happy to splurge a little more, as the status quo and price of essentials are maintained in the run-up to Christmas.  

Marketers will have their work cut out for them this Christmas, as retail messaging will also be competing with political messaging which could have haywire effects on consumer decision making.  

Pay Day Splurging  

This year Black Friday lands on the 29th of November, which is later in the month than in previous years. Retailers are aware of the psychological effect of “Pay Day”, speculating that shoppers may be prepared to splurge or impulsively spend a little more this year due to the date. Of course, Black Friday marketing does not start on Black Friday. Many smart retailers will start their discounting earlier, with riskier and more eye-grabbing deals, promotions and messaging. 

A later Black Friday will also decrease the time between the date and Christmas, putting a further strain on distribution infrastructure and eCommerce systems. Last Black Friday alone saw 194 million e-commerce website visits in the UK, according to Elliot Jacobs at LiveArea, and this spike in traffic proved too much for some servers. 

Top Tip: in the run-up to Black Friday, stress test your servers and distribution capacity or risk a potentially business-destroying crash-and-burn. 

Brand Loyalty Goes Out the Window 

With increasingly eye-watering discounts in every shop window, consumers are more likely to be persuaded to loosen their purse strings as a first-time customer when making their Christmas shopping decisions. To back this up with sales statistics, 57% of purchases made in 2018’s Cyber Week were made by first-time buyers, says Mike Harris at Bluecore. Retailers should think in the longer term about their communication strategies and use Black Friday as an opportunity to retain defecting customers throughout the year. 

‘Tis the season to be fickle. 

If you have any questions on how you can better connect with your customers this Black Friday, get in touch with the team at Eagle Eye for expert insights and solutions that will allow you to maximise your omnichannel offering.