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EDITORIAL Just what is this Peak season going to look like?

Black Friday: tomorrow all will become clear(er) (Image: Shutterstock)

It is Peak-eve and all through the house (of retail) every single set of data is all over the place, just like a mouse. Tomorrow is Black Friday and, within the next few days, all the speculation as to what it – and by default the rest of Christmas – will look like may start to emerge. Before we get there, however, signals from the industry are at best mixed.

A study by Appinio of 1000 UK shoppers bullishly suggests that 90% of then are going to by buying online on Black Friday, instigating a definitive shift to ecommerce that will play out for the rest of the season.

On the other hand, a study of, one presumes, a very different 1000 people in the UK and Ireland by Dematic says that 76% of online shoppers aren’t going to take advantage of Black Friday deals – but are going to be heading online in droves this Christmas.

This is backed up by Adobe which also finds that many UK shoppers are tiring of the blatant consumerism of Black Friday, don’t really believe that there are any real deals to be had and so are not going to be looking.

One thing is for sure, however, is that many of these online shoppers on Black Friday – and let’s face it I am sure many of the naysayers will be taking a peak – will be doing so on mobile. Studies by Adjust and Adcolony – two different mobile marketing agencies – are seeing a definitive trend towards mobile as the platform of choice for many shoppers this season.

Of course, mobile has the added advantage that it will also be used by shoppers who are also shopping in the real world, driving the numbers up for mobile. Ah, the advantages of being omni-channel.

What is clear is that no one can predict how this peak season is going to play out. While shoppers are in two camps – those that are happy to go out and mingle and those that aren’t – there is also the added pressures of supply chain worries and cost in uncertain times.

All these things seem to be muddying the waters for many consumers. For some, the fact that supplies may run low and to spread the cost they are starting early. For others, the same is leading to a ‘wait and see’ approach that could see a last minute rush.

For Black Friday watchers this, I believe, is where the confusion comes in. Shoppers are getting a bit weary of Black Friday hyperbole, no, they don’t believe they will get a bargain and so are not ‘interested’ in Black Friday in that sense.

However, wanting to start early and get things before they run out and to spread the cost over at least two pay packets does make Black Friday a line in the sand; a line that many are using as the start of their festive shopping.

So, in a sense, all these surveys are right: no, Black Friday isn’t as interesting to shoppers than it once was, but yes, they will be shopping furiously on that day – online and on mobile. No they aren’t looking for bargains, yes, they are wanting to get in early in case the supply chain lets them down. 

Tune in next week to find out just how wrong/right (delete as you see fit) this prediction is.

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