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How European merchants performed during the week-long Black Friday sales

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Ingenico Group, a global leader in seamless payment, saw a significant increase in online transactions throughout Europe as a result of this year’s Black Friday shopping period – with sales coming from a range of industries, not just the retail sector.

Analysing data from its online transactions, Ingenico confirmed that the volume of Black Friday sales increased by 11% when compared with last year, totally 86% more transactions than an average Friday. The average transaction value (ATV) was also higher at 135€. Since ATV had previously been on the decrease since 2016, the new rise is an indicator of the growing popularity of the event across the region – a positive sign for European eCommerce businesses wanting to take part in the future.

The run up to Black Friday also saw increased transactions compared to last year. From Monday to Thursday, online transactions in Europe were up by 15% from sales in 2018. Now cemented as a week-long shopping festival, Ingenico advises online businesses to leverage the sales to boost profits before the end of the calendar year.

Benoit Boudier, Managing Director, SMB Online Europe from Ingenico, explains: “This Black Friday turned into a week-long event where we processed more transactions for our merchants than ever before. With so many purchases being made across the world, and so much at stake, it is crucial that our payment platform has 100% availability – meaning it is completely stable. The last thing merchants want is to lose their ability to process payments, even the loss of just one minute would mean thousands of transactions lost.”

Boudier continues:  “Thanks to the strong Ingenico platform, which has been built to handle twice the amount of the highest recorded peak volume, and the hard work of our Operational and Service Delivery teams that monitor platform performance non-stop, we saw the most successful Black Friday across Europe to-date.”

Following the Black Friday rush, Ingenico also saw increased year-on-year sales during Cyber Monday, processing 15% more transactions than in 2018. At midday it was handling 28% more transactions than the same time last year, seeing highs of around 55% more transactions than an average Monday.

Merchant findings

With impressive growth seen across the region, Ingenico took a closer look at individual business performance to pinpoint the top trends and processes in play over the past week. Speaking with Matias Undurraga, Senior Technology Manager of Just Eat Switzerland,, highlighted the diverse range of industries that get involved in the event.

Undurraga comments: “We participated in Black Friday and Cyber Monday since we know that people get very hungry during their online shopping hours. We wanted to help out by providing our customers with an easy checkout and a 20% discount. We saw over 35% of our customers applied a discount, and overall Black Friday was one of our top 10 sales days ever.”

Discussing trends of the sales week, Matias adds: “We had a trend of early morning customers buying and pre-ordering food for later in the day – and had our best ever day of food collection. Cyber Monday in comparison was slower, we kept our 20% discount but saw fewer redemptions compared to the Friday.”

Since Black Friday has become a worldwide event, wallpaper company, Graham & Brown, assessed its sales on a global level. Matthew Rabbitt, Web Operations Manager, says: “In the UK we actually had a slightly slower build up to Black Friday, but the day itself was on par with our year-on-year achievements. We saw a really strong performance for all other markets – particularly North America – seeing significant growth in both Australia and Germany in comparison to last year, with a 30% increase in each market.”

However, Woodhouse Clothing (a menswear boutique), anticipated more transactions from the region. Imran Khan, Head of E-Commerce, says: “November has been a successful trading month for us – we delivered growth during Black Friday week (like for like trading) despite aggressive offers across the industry. There was a spike in sales from non-UK markets during Black Friday – sales were almost doubled week on week – but the demand from European markets wasn’t as high as we expected.”

Results from both Woodhouse Clothing and Graham & Brown highlight how these peak sales periods are not just about discounts for European shoppers, but rather the quality of the product and the customer experience.

Khan notes that: “Customers were holding back on purchases until Black Friday weekend, even though most retailers had week-long Black Friday promotions. We had a clear message that we won’t lower our prices on Black Friday which resonated well with our customers, and we benefited with uplift in sales leading up to Black Friday itself. It is very important that retailers communicate simple and clear messages during this busy trading period.”

Rabbitt adds: “We continue to see strong sales across our entire wallpaper range, with spikes in some more seasonal products around this time of year, such as our stag wall art and tartan wallpaper which is performing better than usual.”

Similar results were seen from Spain-based fancy dress business, Funidelia, which has a strong cross-border proposition. Chief Marketing Officer, Javier Ferraz Rives, says: “Black Friday went very well for us, we’ve had several days of very positive sales results – our best sellers were still La Casa de Papel and Ladybug costumes. We also had an increase in sales from Nordic countries (Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland).”

For Netherlands-based Lampenlicht (an international lighting company), it was the successful preparation of processes that was celebrated once the peak sales week came to an end. Lucas Verhagen, Chief Financial Officer, commented: “This year we did a Black Friday week for the first time to divide orders over the days. We made the right preparations with all departments, ready for the “Big Bang” that would come; so warehouse, customer service, IT and our IT partners were ready on full strength and standby. There were no hiccups on Black Friday – everything went well and sales increased in every market that we operate in.”

Merchant insights reveal how crucial it is to put in the research ahead of peak sales days. For businesses trading across borders, they need to know who their customer is, what they’re looking for and how they want to pay. With the help of a payments partner like Ingenico, a business can match those demands and use peak sales days as a strategy for genuine international growth.

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