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LONDON - Black Friday, the traditional US sales bonanza that follows Thanksgiving, cemented itself as an online institution in the UK yesterday.
While the stampedes of in-store visitors failed to materialise, UK consumers started early and spent nearly 4X the amount they do on an average Friday according to Qubit, which delivers data-first customer experiences to more than 200 ecommerce businesses globally including 35 of the top 100 UK retailers.
Black Friday UK online traffic was 2.5X higher than an average Friday and there were about 2X the number of orders, while spend was 3.8X higher.
Retailers witnessed about the same number of purchases per customer as an average Friday, although the average value of each order across these retailers was up by 88% per customer.
And on a day when online buying was preferred to in-store shopping, customers ditched their increasing preference for mobile devices. The split of traffic across devices didn’t change much on Black Friday compared with an average day, with 49% of page views coming from computers, 32% from mobile and 19% from tablets.
However, on Black Friday people were much more likely to switch away from their mobile to actually make their purchases. Whereas on an average Friday, 51% of online orders were on a mobile, only 37% of them were on Black Friday. The majority of the ordering activity moved to computers with 43%, compared to the usual 32%.
The same was true for spend, with only 22% of orders on mobile, compared to the 28% for a normal Friday.
Looking at the times of day that Black Friday sales took place, there may be a good reason why computers dominated mobile on Black Friday.
An early morning ‘rush’ saw 12% of the day’s online traffic between 8-10am compared to 8% on a normal Friday. For spending the trend was even more pronounced; 14% of all money was spent between 8-10am, compared to 7% on a normal Friday. In fact 44% of all money spent was spent by midday, compared to 26% on a regular Friday.
There is perhaps evidence that office workers saved themselves a day's holiday spent fighting for the most in-demand goods in store and instead exploited the sales promotions from their desks at work.
In addition, mobile shoppers tend to buy fewer items and have smaller order sizes generally. While there is evidence of a general increase in customers using their mobiles to shop, people perhaps still prefer to buy big-ticket purchases that require more consideration on a computer as the experience for this kind of purchase still may not be right on smaller screens.
The 2015 Black Friday figures dwarfed those of 2014, when traffic was 1.9X, orders 1.4X and spend 1.9X of an average Friday.