Retailers shifting Black Friday sales strategy, says IMRG

As consumers look to spread their seasonal spend across November and December due to the impact of the current economic climate, retailers are shifting their Black Friday sales strategies to meet consumer preferences and drive spending.  

The first half of November shows retailers have significantly accelerated their Black Friday sales campaigns compared to previous years. Friday’s revealed that there has been a 78% increase Year-on-Year (YoY) for early activations, during the first two weeks of November, compared to the same period in 2021. That’s according to a tracker of 305 retailers run by IMRG and Capgemini.

However, while there is an uptick of Black Friday campaigns by major retailers, online sales growth remained negative at -2.7% YoY, for the first week of November. The Average Basket Value (ABV) also saw a decline from £140 to £135, confirming that the current economic climate is making consumers cost-conscious and careful about how much they are spending this year.

At a category level, beauty (+6.9%) and home & garden (+5.8%) saw a positive impact from a number of large retailers in those categories bringing their sales forward. Whilst electricals were down -9.4%.

Andy Mulcahy, Strategy and Insight Director at IMRG, said: “A substantial increase in the number of retailers, particularly large ones, with a Black Friday campaign live in the first week of November still didn’t push overall growth positive (it was -2.7% YoY). The categories with the highest number of early participants were home & garden, health & beauty, electronics and clothing. Home and beauty seem to have benefited the most, but electronics, where retailers focused heavily on TVs for watching the World Cup, was still down -9.4%, against -14% for the same week in 2021, so that feels like a disappointing response from shoppers.”

Simon Binge, Commerce Senior Manager, Customer Transformation at Capgemini, said: “As predicted, UK retailers are beginning their Black Friday campaigns earlier than ever before in an attempt to stimulate demand. What is more surprising is the number of retailers who have launched their campaigns early – more than double each day from 2nd November compared to the same days in 2021 – but also the relative lack of activity from shoppers. Despite a huge amount of activity from retailers sales for the first week of November still trail last year at -2.7% YOY.  These early results are likely to be causing retailers to review their promotional plans for the Black Friday weekend, opting for deeper discounts and more attractive promotions, with the goal of winning the greatest share possible of an ever-shrinking wallet.”

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