Much of the frenzy around Black Friday online shopping and on mobile is going to take place at night if last year’s data is anything to go by, with retailers such as Argos, Amazon and eBay seeing peaks between midnight and 2am.
Based on analysis of online behaviour of more than 3 million people in the UK during last year’s Black Friday, it is believed that some 35% of all retail site visits were made to the Amazon website alone – which has now announced its extended Black Friday sales period.
By analysing the Hitwise clickstream data, this footfall was been driven by Amazon’s consecutive morning emails on the day itself, becoming consistent across the afternoon traffic to the site.
With more than 28 million online visits per hour to retail sites last year, other brands likely to lead the way this year include eBay , Argos , Tesco and John Lewis . The share of visits to different sites was found to shift hour by hour, with savvy savers charging to the Argos website in the early hours, peaking in visit share at 1am. This was then overtaken by eBay at 2am.
However, by supporting their marketing with social media, Argos then peaked in terms of the number of clicks it generated, during social’s prime time period of 8pm to 10pm in the evening, reflecting consistent engagement throughout the day.
Keen to snag the first deals, from midnight to 3am the morning of Black Friday, Hitwise recorded a massive 75% increase in daily visit share last year, compared to the weekly average. However, the majority of shoppers are likely to use post work down time to browse, with the highest proportion of shoppers looking at retail sites online between the hours from 8pm to 10pm last year.
The mobile phone is also going to drive much of this late night shopping, as it is the most portable device in the house and the most likely to be used in bed.
Commenting on the research, Nigel Wilson, managing director of Hitwise, says: “Numerous months of planning promotions, product offerings, content and channel strategy all boil down to whether brands are actually seen and visited online. Whilst search was the largest referring channel over the Black Friday period, a multi-channel approach is still required to differentiate and personalise what you are delivering to consumers. In the week leading up to Black Friday, retailers need to acutely align their digital advertising and communication to meet consumer demand. Our data shows us that online visit share is critical and fiercely contested across every hour, over the Black Friday period. To stay one step ahead, retailers need to track their competitors channels, in order to safeguard online visibility and visit traffic. With greater insights into competitors and consumer behaviours, retailers are then able shape and optimise digital strategies for this coming retail event of the year.”
But late night shopping comes with its own perils: especially if drink has been taken. According to research by online marketplace Flubit.com, one in 20 people have bought goods online after consuming alcohol, including a lion’s main wig for a cat, a didgeridoo, a £6500 car and a VHS cassette of Take That’s greatest hits.