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This is how we shop on Black Friday

18 OCTOBER 2019

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Over the past few years, the American shopping phenomenon Black Friday has also become one of the most important shopping days in the Nordics. But by looking at Bambora’s own numbers we can clearly see that it is mainly e-commerce and a few types of instore merchants who benefit the most from this shopping holiday.

Black Friday started out as an American phenomenon, where Christmas shopping was kicked off with large sales after Thanksgiving. Now, however, it has grown into a global affair that constitutes a larger and larger share of retail sales.

According to a report that McKinsey released last year, only 19 percent of UK shoppers took part in Black Friday shopping in 2015. Two years later that number had grown to 54 percent. In Germany, the same number grew from 9 percent in 2015 to 43 percent in 2017. And when Postnord did a similar study in Sweden, they found that the number of Swedes who took part in Black Friday sales grew from 21 to 36 percent between 2015 and 2018.

Bambora’s own figures also show that Black Friday shopping is on the rise across the Nordics. In 2016, we saw that the Black Friday week generated 11 percent more transactions than the average week did for our Nordic merchants. In 2018 that figure had risen to 15 percent.

Furniture is popular during Black Friday
However, it’s not all merchants who see an uptick in transactions during Black Friday. When we study our figures we see that the shopping primarily takes place in a few retail segments. For in-store retail we see that it’s merchants in four specific segments that see an increase in the number of transactions, compared to an average week: furniture (increases by 37%), accessories (26%), electronics (16 %) and clothes (12%). For the remaining segments there is actually a decrease in the number of transactions.

For online, the increase in transactions takes place on a broader front, but it’s still the same four segments that stand out the most. For example we see that the number of transactions for our online furniture merchants increases by a whopping 91 percent compared to the average week, followed by clothes retailers at 84 percent.

Another clear trend is that Black Friday has become an increasingly digital “holiday”. Back in 2016 the number of transactions for our online merchants increased by 28 percent during Black Friday week and in 2018 it was up to 60 percent. The fact that all segments of online retail show an increase in transactions, while many in-store segments decrease, also indicates that many consumers now choose to look for their Black Friday bargains online instead of in stores. That conclusion is also backed up by Postnord’s analysis of last year’s Black Friday shopping in Sweden. It showed that the number who shopped online during Black Friday increased compared to the year before, while the number who shopped in stores decreased compared to previous years.

We buy more and more expensive stuff
Even though Black Friday is all about special offers, we see that the average purchase for our merchants actually increases during the Black Friday week. The increase is about five percent for in-store merchants and ten percent for online merchants. A plausible explanation for this is that many customers hold off on making more expensive purchases until the Black Friday sales.

All of this indicates that our shopping behavior is actually significantly different during Black Friday, and that it can be a good opportunity to entice customers with offers on things like expensive furniture, clothes or electronics. And for online merchants it seem like it’s a good idea to have a Black Friday promotion almost regardless of what you sell.

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