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PEAK 2017 The changing shape of peak shopping

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The way people shop over Black Friday and the extended Christmas period tells us far more than how people are getting on with their present shopping. The changing way that shoppers are buying becomes magnified thanks to the sheer volume of transactions at this time of year. In addition, time-pressured shoppers look for, and adopt, new ways of doing things that they may then continue over the rest of the year. With this in mind, InternetRetailing is devoting a regular twice-weekly slot to peak shopping season 2017, highlighting the stories that struck us as most interesting over the last few days.

The new shape of peak shopping

• IMRG figures suggest that UK shoppers went online to buy during November, which includes Black Friday and the preceding Cyber Week. Online sales grew by 6.5%, while store sales fell by 3.7% on a like-for-like basis. Read the full story here.

• Black Friday has now extended to a six-day ecommerce festival, with Wednesday November 22 to Monday November 27 the six busiest shopping days of 2017, analysis from payments specialist Ingenico suggests.

Sales peaked on Black Friday, according to the analysis, with UK consumers spending 515% more online than the average Friday in 2017 and nearly double the amount spend on Cyber Monday. In 2016, Cyber Monday transaction value was just 27% lower than Black Friday.

“With retailers competing to launch their discount campaigns first, and consumers rushing to snap up the best deals, ‘Black Friday’ has now extended into a full week-long event,” said Gabriel de Montessus, VP retail global product and marketing for Ingenico Group . “Cyber Monday was still one of the biggest ecommerce days of the year, but sales fatigue appears to have hit consumers who, this year, expended more energy and budget on earlier discount offers.”

Evolving shopper behaviour

Shoppers are looking for bargain this Christmas. Some 42% said they were looking out for promotional offers for the festive supermarket shop, according to a survey by coupon and voucher services provider Valassis. This percentage has increased in recent years from 38% in 2015 and 2014. Nearly half (46%) of all shoppers agree that they spend more time at Christmas seeking out promotions to ensure they keep within their budget, up from 42% in 2016.

The study found 2-for- 1 offers were the most popular promotion: 48% of consumers said these would entice them to shop away from their main supermarket over the festive season, up from 43% last year.

A quarter (25%) of consumers said they would “often” or “always” use online shopping and home delivery, compared to 21% in 2016. Younger shoppers were also more likely to regularly use their phone for digital offers in high street shops and restaurants – 24% of 16-24 and 30% of 25-34 year olds.

Charles D’Oyly, managing director of Valassis, said: “With the array of supermarkets being within easy reach of most shoppers, it has never been easier to cherry-pick the best deals. Perhaps the financial crisis of 2007 created a permanently more promotionally savvy shopper. Our research suggests, more than ever before, that deep discounters, 2-for-1s, vouchers and coupons have the strongest influence over the festive food shopping contest this year.”

Fewer shoppers visiting stores

The Black Friday washout continues into the first week of Christmas trading, according to retail intelligence experts Springboard . Its analysis suggests that footfall across all retail destinations rose by only 1%, week-on-week, in the week of November 27, and fell by 3.1%, compared to last year.

It found that retail parks were the most resilient with footfall increasing by +1.7% from the Black Friday week, and declining by 0.3% from 2016, a slight improvement last year when footfall rose over the week by +1.4% and declined over the year by -0.8%.

UK high streets suffered the most last week, it said reporting a marginal rise in footfall of just 0.3% week on week, but a drop of -4.5% compared to the same week in 2016.

Shopping Centres recorded the largest uplift in footfall from the previous week of +2.1%, but an annual drop in footfall of -2.6% demonstrates that they still are attracting fewer customers than last year.

Diane Wehrle, retail insights director at Springboard, said: ‘These results are likely to be driven by the surge in click and collect following the Black Friday Weekend and Cyber Monday, evidence why the retail parks are seeming to buck the UK high street’s slowdown”.

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