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Black Friday set to be an m-commerce bonanza in UK

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The popularity of Black Friday keeps rising in the UK – and this year it is likely to be driven by mobile. According to the British Retail Consortium, Black Friday searches overtook Boxing Day for both 2017 and 2018, but stats from a variety of sources predict 2019 will be the year of the ‘mobile Black Friday’, as consumers look to bag deals on the move in their largest numbers ever.

Based on 2018 data, Bloomreach is predicting that more than 50% of ecommerce sales will come from mobile devices. 2018 saw UK mobile traffic spike by over 1 million searches on the week of Black Friday, with desktop only seeing an increase of just over 100,000. 

In terms of revenue, the UK saw an overall increase in spend of over £12 million in the week of Black Friday, with mobile sales responsible for 50% of all transactions. Purchases made from desktop and tablet devices made up the rest.

Similarly, based on its historic data, BounceX is predicting that more people will shop on mobile than desktop this year, with mobile conversions for Black Friday expected to outpace desktop conversions for the first time. On Black Friday and Cyber Monday, conversion rates have steadily grown across every major device, with BounceX predicting that the retail conversion rate for Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2019 will increase by 29.7% from 2018.

The conversion rate on Black Friday alone is expected to be 22.8% higher than 2018, while the conversion rate for Cyber Monday is anticipated to increase 36.2%. Recognising the need to show the right message to the right shopper at the right time, forward-thinking retailers have begun to convert new segments of web traffic that were previously difficult to identify and effectively target.

Beyond device choice, timing factors heavily into online shopping behaviour. According to BounceX, Black Friday peak browsing will take place at 11am, with peak buying hours taking place between noon and 9pm, whilst peak browsing and buying taking place on Cyber Monday at 9pm.

This move to mobile is also corroborated by predictions based on data from Wowcher’s Black Friday preview week, which found that for electronics – the strongest category for Wowcher almost every year – 85% of transactions happened on mobile, including mobile site, tablet and the app, highlighting the need for brands, retailers and marketplaces to be agile in their sales platforms.

According to Bloomreach, the morning commute proved the most popular time to browse and buy on mobile, with more than £60,000 worth of transactions happening between 7 and 10am on Black Friday itself. British commuters opted for sleepwear, socks, sweaters and leggings as their favourite end of year bargains.

Wowcher sees electronics leading the way in terms of what people are buying, with ‘home’ and ‘children and baby’ also set to be strong performers.

Commenting on the findings, Michael Schirrmacher, UK MD at Bloomreach, says: “The Black Friday hype looks set to pick up even more momentum this year, with many consumers looking to do their Christmas shopping during the November sales period. Black Friday is one of the biggest retailing events of the year. But in the increasingly competitive world of ecommerce, it’s not only the bargains that will get sales over the line – it’s the seamless experience and service customers receive throughout the entire sales process. Retailers need to be as smart and agile as the people they’re selling to.”

Robert Massa, General Manager, BounceX EMEA, adds: “As these major shopping dates have continued to develop, consumers have become savvy to this popular discounting event, spending more time researching and seeking out the best deals online. With the ability to browse between retailers’ sites and across devices, shopping online and mobile have become the channels of choice, meaning shoppers will shift further away from brick-and-mortar stores.”

Salman Dean at Wowcher comments: “The majority of Wowcher customers shop on mobile devices and our Black Friday preview week (15th-20th Oct) showed no sign of that abating – with 70-90% of customers shopping on mobile in nearly every category. From our data we know that mobile will continue to dominate and should be at the forefront of retailers’ decisions. At Wowcher we conduct a significant amount of A/B testing across mobile and desktop to ensure the customer journey is as smooth as possible.”

Schirrmacher concludes: “With record online sales last year and an ever-growing shift to mobile commerce, it’s important for companies to ensure they’re offering a sophisticated, yet easy, customer experience that spans all channels and platforms. If retailers don’t have the personal touch that many of their competitors will have, they’ll likely be left in the wake of larger ecommerce players who have historically dominated the Black Friday period.”

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