The future’s bright; the future's online

The concept of the Thanksgiving sales may be an American phenomenon, but it is increasingly gaining traction on this side of the Atlantic too. As predicted by the analysts at Experian-IMRG, the weekend running from Thanksgiving and Black Friday through to Cyber Monday is expected to add to one of the busiest weekends of the year. What’s more Experian-IMRG has predicted that Cyber Monday could prove to be a record breaker for online shopping and E-commerce. So it looks like the future’s bright – the future’s online.

Experian-IMRG’s analysts predicted that shoppers were expected to spend almost £1bn online on yesterday. That’s up by almost a third from last year. That increase follows closely on record numbers of sales generated by Black Friday trading: £1.1bn according to Experian. Interestingly this year there wasn’t the expected run on shops as we witnessed last year, and no fighting in the aisles over discounted televisions: Black Friday 2015 was notable for the record number of purchases that were conducted online:

  • Amazon claimed to have had its biggest sales day in the UK on Friday, selling more than 7.4 million items. Visa Europe backed up this claim too, saying:

“It looks like Black Friday has cemented its place as the busiest online shopping day of the year. More than £760m was spent online with Visa cards, up nearly 25 per cent on last year,” it stated, adding that £2.2bn is predicted to be spent online on its cards over the four-day period.

  • The good news was also reported by department chain, John Lewis. It claimed that this year’s Black Friday saw its biggest ever single-day trade, up 11.9% compared with last year. The majority of that increase it claimed was driven by sales on its website.
  • Royal Mail has said that, based on the number of items sent from online retailers over the weekend, the weekend looks set to break online sales records. Most online shopping orders it claimed came from Norwich, Dorchester and Exeter.
  • The chief executive of Very.co.uk and Littlewoods, Alex Baldock, told the BBC said that he expected this year’s Cyber Monday to be bigger than Black Friday last year. However, he warned customers that deliveries could take as long as 10 days rather than the usual 48 hours, adding that he expects 100,000 new customers to log on over the period.
  • Adding to warnings about late deliveries, logistics expert Stuart Higgins from LCP Consulting told the BBC that Black Friday’s orders equated to about 22 million parcels, with a similar volume expected to be generated on Monday. However, he took some of the gloss off these record-breaking figures adding:

“A staggering 10 per cent of that won’t be delivered on time and that’s because retailers haven’t got their back-end fulfilment capabilities – their organisation, processes and infrastructure – in place to cope with the marketing hype that has been created around Black Friday.”

  • Analyst Miya Knight from Planet Retail said that Currys and PC World saw online traffic increase 1000 per cent on the morning of Black Friday.

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