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Black Friday now peak pre-Christmas trading period: Salmon

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Black Friday and Cyber Week has become the de facto peak pre-Christmas trading period, according to research from commerce consultancy Salmon .

The organisation’s analysis, taken from data from its peak trading operations centre, suggests that Christmas sales are declining gradually, giving way to Black Friday, now peak trading time for retailers. It says that Black Friday 2016 saw 28% more online orders placed between November 22 and November 28 than between December 21 and 27, covering the last ordering days before Christmas and the sales that follow on Boxing Day. The analysis suggests not only that shoppers are buying more Christmas gifts in November, but that Cyber Week is also an early opportunity to snap up some discounted items. That, in turn, takes the edge off the appetite for the traditional Boxing Day sales. Indeed, says Salmon, sales conversion was 50% higher on Black Friday than on Boxing Day.

The analysis also seems to bear out recent retail sales figures from the UK Office for National Statistics (ONS), which last week showed that shoppers spent more in November than they did in December.

Another interesting trend is the move towards mobile: some 51% of online orders made on Black Friday were placed via mobile, as were 60% of orders placed over Christmas.

Patrick Munden, head of retail and marketing, at Salmon said: “While it would be premature to call 2016 the end of Christmas sales, what’s clear is that peak trading has shifted dramatically towards the Black Friday period. With more traffic, more orders and more conversion occurring over Black Friday week, consumers are embracing the smorgasbord of deals that November offers, leaving Christmas deals trailing in its wake. The challenge for retailers is managing these peaks and making sure that while they have the correct and necessary digital provisions to make Black Friday a success, they also don’t cannibalise their own Boxing Day/Christmas sales opportunities.

“As some of the biggest retailers announced figures on ‘Super Retail Thursday’, the most striking aspect was how online sales have positively impacted companies. With the majority of orders in the two biggest sales periods being placed on mobile, this mirrors the increasing trend we’re seeing of digital – particularly mobile – shopping done at a time and a place when it suits the consumer most. Retailers need to pay attention to this to ensure they are offering a concrete and efficient digital offering. What’s more, watch out for retailers offering their own ‘proactive peaks’, such as versions of Amazon Prime Day, to take advantage of an appetite for less traditional sales days.”

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