Black Friday shoppers browsed more but spent less than was expected, according to the latest figures from IMRG.
The figures, from IMRG and supported by SimilarWeb data, suggested that the total spend on online retail sites on Black Friday hit £1.23 billion – up 12.2% on the £1.1 billion spent on the same day in 2015.
However, the figure was almost a quarter lower than the original forecast growth of 16%. The figure was held back because although the number of online browsers grew on Black Friday less than expected went on to convert into buyers.
Instead many shoppers embraced the spread out offers promoted by many retailers. As a result, each of the four days leading up to Black Friday experienced strong sales growth of between 23.4% and 33.7% with higher conversion rates than Black Friday, according to the figures.
For the week as a whole an estimated £6.45 billion was spent on UK online retail sites although this was less than the expected £6.77 billion.
Justin Opie, managing director at IMRG, said: “Over the past few years Black Friday has consistently demonstrated a remarkable capacity for shifting in terms of size and scale. In 2014 the volume of orders exceeded forecast by over 30%, in 2015 we had empty shops and this year it seems to have become a genuinely extended period of heightened sales activity – taking place over a week (and more in some cases), which is not entirely dissimilar to the way that Xmas peak used to be online before Black Friday disrupted the established pattern in 2014.”
The figures are in stark contrast to John Lewis however, which reported sales of £199.8 million for the week, up by 6.5% year on year and the biggest ever week in John Lewis’ trading history and the company’s biggest ever day on Black Friday.
At the company’s Magna Park distribution centre John Lewis saw a record day on Saturday when it processed a third more units than the same day last year. Across the weekend John Lewis picked an average of 12,000 units per hour across its network.
Dino Rocos, lead director and operations director at John Lewis, praised his staff for their efforts during the period: “From our retail and distribution partners who helped customers get the products they wanted, to our teams behind the scenes in commercial and IT, each of our partners should be rightly proud of the part they have played in delivering this milestone result,” he said.
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