Shoppers will spend £5bn over the course of a five-day cyber weekend in the run up to Christmas 2016, according to new forecasts.
The prediction comes in a Black Friday 2016 playbook, launched by ecommerce consultancy Salmon [IRDX VSMN], which expects to see a growing appetite for pre-Christmas discounting. Where shoppers spent an estimated £1.1bn in one day on Black Friday 2015, and £3.3bn over a three-day weekend, it points to a potential £5bn spend over the course of the extended weekend, from Thursday November 24 through to Cyber Monday on Monday November 28.
Last year US retailers, says Salmon, saw a tipping point as online sales overtook offline sales, while UK sites went down as shoppers waited to buy. It advises retailers to start their planning now.
John Beechen, head of managed services at Salmon, said: “Retailers should think about peak trading as a crisis that they know will happen in advance. Preparation is vital, and retailers should already be considering their business and operational plans for the period. Retailers must also consider contingency plans to respond to issues during the week.”
He says that by planning properly retailers will be better ready to “take advantage of the heightened consumer interest during peak trading – and avoid long term damage to the brand through poor customer experience.”
Commenting on the forecast, Rupal Karia, managing director of retail and hospitality, UK and Ireland, at Fujitsu, said: “The prediction that this year’s Black Friday will in actual fact be a £5bn Black Friday week isn’t surprising after the success we saw last year. In 2015, instead of hitting the high-street, digitally-savvy shoppers opted to browse in the comfort of their homes or workplace. This shift in behaviour from 2014 was a game changer, as it demonstrated that retailers needed to look ahead, rather than what had worked previously when shoppers flocked to stores. Consumers prefer the convenience online offers.”
Karia said that retailers would be able to adapt to a five day Black Friday period by staggering their deals over the week, and taking the pressure off their systems as a result.
“Retailers need to look at how their different channels can work together to deliver a truly excellent customer experience. Only by putting consumers at the heart of the business, personalising the shopping experience and simplifying the buying process, can retailers hope to win the battle for consumers’ hearts – whether that’s in-store or online.”
Juha Mattsson, CMO at Walkbase, said: “Black Friday will produce a huge spike in sales for many stores so it is also vital that retailers plan, hire additional staff and find extra ways to drive revenues. By preparing and understanding their data, retailers will be able to make their in-store experience as smart of their online.”
Salmon will be sharing its insights on planning for peak at IMRG’s Managing Peak Performance Connect Conference on June 15.