In many markets, Black Friday is now bigger than Christmas, shows data from a GfK POS study. The combination of Black Friday, Christmas and post-Christmas account for one-fifth of all annual sales. This is an increase of 6% compared to 2018. The study provides insight from 27,000 shoppers (aged 15+) about how shopping is evolving across FMCG, Tech and Durables and Other categories.
According to the research, the three events have substantial different dynamics. Sales on Black Friday show a heady 114% sales value uplift compared to an average sales week. Christmas and post-Christmas should not be underestimated either. These two events see a, respectively, 45% and 12% uplift. The growth trend is stronger post-Christmas, while the Christmas period even slightly declines. The relative importance of each event is similar across most key markets, such as Germany, France, Italy, the United Kingdom and Spain. Poland is an exception. Here, Christmas is still by far the biggest event in terms of sales value. Another exception is China, where Singles Day outweighs any other seasonal promotion event by far.
Norbert Herzog, GfK expert for retail insights, comments: “Sales momentum starts earlier than ever. We see strong sales value growth now in the weeks leading up to Black Friday. In the week prior to most recent Black Friday, sales grew by 17%, accompanied by increased levels of price promotions. The effect that Black Friday has on the whole peak season is to pull sales forward.”
Peak season: driving growth
Many countries saw a value uplift. Brazil, for one, saw a phenomenal uplift of 291%. It generated €1.6 billion additional revenue during Black Friday compared to the average. To a lesser extent, this growth can be seen in countries such as Germany, Italy, Poland, France and the United Kingdom. In Spain, the greatest week-on-week growth can be found. The Turkish market enjoyed the highest year-on-year growth as Black Friday is yet to mature.
Online shops profit a lot from peak season weeks such as Black Friday. Sales made on online shops show a clear peak during this event, with more than 200% more online sales than in an average week. 88% of respondents in the study agreed with the statement that they got triggered by seasonal discounts to make more online purchases. During these events, an increase in direct traffic can be found. Consumers tend to use search engines less and directly visit the retailer’s website.
Bestsellers and premiumisation
During Black Friday, a large share of popular sold items falls in the category of consumer electronics. Domestic appliances and IT come in second and third. The Christmas period shows a minor change in this picture, with the rise of small domestic appliances. The gift worthiness of these goods lifts it to the first place. Other categories that perform well during Christmas and post-Christmas are photo and telecoms.
Different types of products outperformed in different markets. In Spain and Italy, digital cameras were foremost in consumer sights, while in Germany loudspeakers performed well. In Poland and Brazil, televisions were the bestselling product while in the UK camcorders did well. The French preferred home audio systems.
The GfK study finally concludes that consumers in most key markets moved beyond view price promotion events as a chance to snap up a bargain. The demand focuses on value for money and “premiumisation”. 2019 saw an increase of 40% in average prices over Black Friday compared to the average week. If retailers send our clear messages and can reassure consumers that the price promotions are genuine and offer true savings, the opportunities to extend upwards through product levels and increase sales value accordingly are considerable.