"Black Friday, in the UK?...But that's an American thing!" Initial scepticism about the success of Black Friday has been overshadowed due to record sales figures in the UK.
The scenes of Black Friday were portrayed on the news with hundreds of shoppers piling into stores shortly after midnight. However, we didn't see what shoppers were doing online. Black Friday saw a record 91% increase in online sales figures, as well as some valuable insights for ecommerce retailers.
What is Black Friday?
If you're not up to speed with what this shopping event actually is, here's what you need to know. Black Friday began in the early 2000s in the United States and is always held on the Friday that follows Thanksgiving.
Black Friday was said to mark the beginning of the Christmas shopping season and the majority of online retailers would open early and offer discount promotions. The shopping event was introduced to the UK in by online retailer Amazon in 2010. Initially, the introduction was met with scepticism, but year-on-year, the UK's Black Friday sales figures continue to climb.
Black Friday 2014 - UK stats
- Shoppers spent an estimated £810million online on Black Friday (IMRG)
- Online sales increased by 91% (IBM)
- 59.8% of traffic came from mobile devices (IBM)
- Amazon sold approximately 64 items per second
- John Lewis enjoyed the biggest sales week on record and online revenue increased by 41%
More mobile users than ever before
As these stats show, mobile shoppers accounted for 60% of Black Friday's traffic in the UK. This shows that mobile is fast becoming the dominant channel for online shopping. Of this growth, IBM's European Retail Solution Leader, James Lovell, says:
It has become clear from their behaviour that consumers are increasingly using mobile technology as part of their shopping experience...The emphasis will continue for retailer’s to optimise the customer mobile customer experience even further going into 2015, to ensure they are capturing the very rich customer interaction data that mobile devices provide"
If you're an online retailer wondering how you can ensure your site caters for mobile shoppers, Ben, Mercurytide's Client Services Director, offers the following advice...
More customers choose to shop online
Despite these figures, some customers were left frustrated due to several sites crashing as a result of Black Friday's surge in traffic - including Tesco, Argos, Curry's and PC World. This shows that more and more customers are choosing to shop online, rather than facing crowded queues in-store. However, retailers who are enticing customers with their Black Friday deals need to ensure that their sites are robust enough to cope with high levels of traffic and transactions.