Black Friday has become an essential business event in many countries, and usually marks the start of holiday sales. Despite the health crisis and the lockdown measures currently in force, the forecasts for the 2020 season remain positive, especially for e-commerce. While all sites are ready for Friday 27th November, some are already pushing promotional offers that will run until Christmas.
Is there still a Black Friday?
Historically, consumers took advantage of Black Friday offers to do their Christmas shopping. Over the years, the event, which now lasts a week, seems to be drowned in a promotional period that takes over the entire last quarter.
A trend that is particularly accentuated this year, with the Covid-19 pandemic, which has considerably disrupted commercial activity with numerous stock shortages. As a result, some retailers, like Macy's, expected consumers to start shopping for the holidays even earlier this year. In France, Carrefour published its famous Christmas catalogue on October 10th.
On the other side of the Pacific, the Chinese celebrate singles with Singles' Day, which opens the festivities on 11th November. A commercial event with vertiginous figures: in 2018 the giant Alibaba generated nearly 1 billion dollars from the first minute!
Cyber Monday or Black Friday?
Cyber Monday has already far surpassed Black Friday in the United States. In 2019, according to Adobe, Americans spent nearly $25 billion on Black Friday Week, including $7.4 billion on Black Friday alone, and $9.4 billion on Cyber Monday.
This trend is also prevalent in Europe. Ingenico reported a 15% increase in sales in 2019 compared to 2018 at Cyber Monday. By midday, the platform was processing 28% more transactions compared to the same time last year, with peaks around 55% more than the average for a typical Monday.
What are the sales forecasts for 2020?
According to projections published by Deloitte, the increase in holiday retail sales is expected to be lower than in recent years, and will depend on the level of consumer confidence (or concern) with regards to the health crisis. Overall, we should be satisfied with an increase of 1 to 1.5%, for a turnover of 1,147 to 1,152 billion dollars. Online sales, for their part, could increase by 35% in comparison with 2019.
Black Friday and the Covid-19 pandemic
In the face of COVID-19, the majority of consumers had already planned to shop online. For example, 70% of Americans said they would buy online, while in Europe only 10.8% of the French and 13% of the British planned to go to a store. Indications expressed in September, well before the lockdown.
A successful Black Friday
Despite the pandemic, consumers are maintaining their level of demand. For this promotional period they will be attentive to the possibility of home delivery (58%) and fast delivery (37%), to return their purchases free of charge (58%) and to see the products in real life (38%). The simplicity of the payment process is also an important criterion for more than a third of buyers (35%).
Finally, 38% would like to benefit from advantages linked to their loyalty and 20% would appreciate receiving personalized offers.
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Once again this year, Black Friday remains an essential business event. However, the health crisis will considerably change purchasing habits, which will probably take place over an extended period, especially in e-commerce. For physical points of sale, especially those that are once again confronted with lockdown measures, such as in the UK, Greece, Belgium and France, developing an online catalogue and setting up a click & collect system have therefore become essential.