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Shoppers to shun the high street on Black Friday study suggests

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The vast majority of UK consumers will avoid shopping in stores this Black Friday, preferring to take advantage of deals online, according to consumer research from Emarsys.

The study finds that 58% of shoppers plan to buy from brands solely online on Black Friday, which falls on 27th November, with just 13% of consumers say they will brave the high street.

The indication that consumers will shop predominantly online correlates closely with how the UK retail industry has evolved since the start of the pandemic. According to Covid Commerce Insight, online retail in the UK surpassed 150% year-on-year revenue growth during the height of the lockdown — representing a record 31% of all retail according to the Office for National Statistics — before settling above 100% in August:

Sara Richter, CMO at Emarsys, explains: “Thanks to Covid-19 and changing consumer shopping behaviour, this Black Friday is set to be unlike any other we’ve ever had. As a result, retailers are going to need to make sure they’re able to capitalise on ecommerce to offset the likely dip in in-store revenue this year.”

She continues: “There are positives to a predominantly digital Black Friday though. Ecommerce provides the perfect opportunity to gather and analyse customer data so retailers can retarget customers with personalised offers — turning potential one-off customers into loyal and profitable ones.”

Richter  concludes: “However, the planning needs to start now. Retailers must ensure they have their website, apps, and backend technology infrastructure up to scratch, first so there are no glitches on the day, and second so they can capitalise on gathering customer data. Then after Black Friday, they can use this customer data to drive real business outcomes with personalised targeting over Cyber Monday and Christmas.”

When asked what they will be buying on Black Friday this year — online or in store — 45% of consumers said clothing and electronics, while 25% said toys. Beauty products came in at 24%, household appliances at 23% and household furniture at 15%. These stats differ from last year, where fashion items topped the list of most purchased products (amounting to 36% of sales), followed by cosmetics (18% of sales) and then smart tech (14%), according to YouGov.

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