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Black Friday turns to Golden Christmas

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The countdown to Black Friday has begun – and news reports, studies and industry chit-chat points to it being both the biggest yet and something that is losing its appeal.

The real picture is that for many shoppers ‘traditional’ Black Friday, where they queue up in stores for the bargains from the early hours is starting to lose its appeal. In its place online is becoming the place where the avid bargain hunters that have made Black Friday what it is today are heading: its becoming an cyber phenomenon.

According to a study of US and UK consumers by Periscope By McKinsey, 31% of US respondents state that they have always disliked shopping on Black Friday, and 29% believe it is simply a marketing trick with retailers manipulating pricing to convince consumers they are getting a good deal. The UK agreed with 42% of respondents saying it is a “marketing trick”.

As such, half of US (51%) and UK (48%) respondents confirmed that they have no plans to shop this year. Of those who will make a purchase, only 7% of US and 4% of UK shoppers say they will limit most of their Black Friday shopping to stores, with most preferring to shop online, or do both.

The findings have been backed up to some extent by a separate survey by Royal Mail [IRDX VRYM] which suggests that retailers too are losing interest in Black Friday as it stands at the moment, with only one in five retailers in the UK saying they would be taking an active part in Black Friday this year.

So where does this leave the sales bonanza that leads the run up to the most profitable part of the retail year? Well, it isn’t going away that’s for sure. The idea of Black Five-day – coined by Salmon back in the summer – where the marketing and the spending is spread over the days leading up to Black Friday, the weekend after it and Cyber Monday is on the right track, but with only a few retailers plugging the Black Friday concept it is likely that more traditional Christmas marketing is going to be the order of the day.

Rather than the sales being focussed on just these special days, more canny and more personalised marketing is going to see Black Friday become Golden Christmas.

That isn’t to say that Black Friday is dead: far from it. Some retailers will be pushing it hard and reaping the rewards. The retailers that aren’t going with a Black Friday marketing push will no doubt ride in to Christmas on the coat tails of those that do.

And mobile will be playing an even bigger role this holiday season as these shoppers move online. As we report this week mums are telling analysts that they will be using mobile to organise and buy Christmas this year. But they are just one of the demographics that will be doing this. With more than 50% of ecommerce traffic coming from mobile in many retail sectors, Christmas is set to be a mobile one this year.

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