TV crews outnumbered shoppers on London's Oxford Street, while
many stores that we visited were virtually deserted. Only
electricals retailer Currys and a couple of department stores were
showing any signs of incremental business.
If observations on social media are to be believed, it also
appears that participating supermarkets such as Tesco and
Sainsbury's were not exactly rushed off their feet during early
trading. A couple of retailers, including Debenhams, have asserted
that they are anticipating a decent uptick in shoppers after people
finish work, but it remains to be seen if this more of an
optimistic wish rather than a scientific forecast.
So, why is it that the anticipated instore Black Friday frenzy has
seemingly failed to materialise?
Public apathy: A survey of over 3,000 shoppers
from Kantar's Lightspeed GMI showed that 57% of British shoppers
had no plans to buy an item in the Black Friday sale (up from 55%
The weather: It's a typical British day out
there - a mix of wind and rain will not have encouraged many
shoppers to get out of bed at four O'clock in the morning for the
chance of picking up a cheap TV.
Last year: While the likes of Tesco have put in
place much improved planning and resources in terms of crowd
management, a number of shoppers will have been put off by the
footage and reports of overcrowding, stampedes and violence that
marred Black Friday in 2014.
Asda: Asda's well-publicised decision to shun
Black Friday in 2015, citing their shoppers' disinterest in the
event, will have at least subliminally cooled the ardour of other
shoppers towards Black Friday this year.
Promotional spread: To avoid the damaging peak in
online traffic and ecommerce fulfilment a large number of retailers
have elongated their Black Friday endeavours across several days,
even an entire week. The overall net impact on spending might be
broadly similar, but this spend will obviously be diluted across a
broader time frame meaning that the sales on Friday itself will be
lower than they could have been.
Online: It seems certain that 'Black Friday' will
largely be an online event this year, with shoppers opting for the
convenience of home delivery or click & collect rather than
braving a trip to the high street, retail park or shopping centre.
Dixons Carphone has confirmed that it has been doing very brisk
trade indeed so far today and has noted that it is expecting three
million online visits today and 10 purchases per second at peak
Overall, there is little doubt that Black Friday (or the elongated
version of it) will be a huge sales event for the UK retail sector,
with Experian-IMRG predicting that sales will be up 32% to £1.07
billion. It just seems that stores will not be where most of this
Source : Kantar Retail