The Irish Retailers Guide to Black Friday

No longer a phenomenon exclusive to the US, the fascinating period of Black Friday/ Cyber Monday has taken a hold on European shores over the last 5 years. Here’s everything you need to know about the most exciting shopping event of the year.

WHAT IS BLACK FRIDAY?

Black Friday refers to the day after the US holiday of Thanksgiving. For decades, it has become the norm for retailers to offer reductions on stock to lure price-conscious shoppers into their stores, thus kickstarting the Christmas shopping period. According to one source, the day got its name because the Friday after Thanksgiving represented a difficult day for a particular police unit in Philadelphia that found it hard to deal with an increased number of pedestrians around the Thanksgiving celebrations.

In the financial world, it’s typical for ‘Black Tuesday’ or ‘Black Thursday’ to refer to a bad day on a stock exchange or a day a company releases disappointing financial results, but when it comes to Black Friday, the perception is mainly positive.

Along with Black Friday comes Cyber Monday, a day that emerged as an aftershock of pre-Christmas shopping involving online sales. Black Friday used to refer to instore promotions and deals that shoppers would have to nab in person, while Cyber Monday would pick up the mantle in Cyber space two days later. In recent years, high volumes of online sales are common across the whole period of deals and not just Cyber Monday.

 

CAUTIONARY BLACK FRIDAY TALES

While the cash is expected to flow once again this Black Friday, it’s not all good news for retailers.

Retailers are under undoubtable pressure to deliver big reductions on top of the range items. If this cost isn’t offset by a surge of sales on the day, then it can be difficult not to make a loss.

A demand for PayPal’s services on Cyber Monday 2015 saw the site experience two periods of ‘down time’. Although the surge in demand for the online payment processor is an encouraging sight, when shoppers are unable to checkout with PayPal seamlessly, they will quickly look for a similar deal elsewhere.

That same year, the website of sports apparel giant, Gymshark, went down for 8 hours straight. Online shoppers took to social media to express their disappointment, and what should have been the company’s most profitable day of the year, turned into a PR and financial nightmare.

“The failure cost Gymshark an estimated $143,000 in lost sales. Worse, it also cost the company the trust it had spent years earning from customers expecting a great experience.” Shopify reported.

However, while these are all important considerations for Irish retailers, Black Friday does represent a massive opportunity to attract new customers that may not have shopped with you before. In the build up to Black Friday, Littlewoods Ireland’s Marketing Manager told the Journal.ie:

“It definitely helps stimulate trade for the rest of the Christmas season, because once you get people shopping with your brand, if your brand is something they enjoy, they will tend to shop with you again.”

 

IS BLACK FRIDAY DECLINING?

If one was to search news stories about Black Friday on the web they would find a lot of results talking about the “decline of Black Friday”. So, is this infamous day of holiday shopping disappearing? The answer is no, but Black Friday is changing in several ways.

According to research conducted by Black Friday Global, the percentage of Irish consumers planning on shopping only in-store on Black Friday dropped by 10pc between 2017 and 2018 from 50.14% to 40.05%. Moreover, when it comes to online shoppers, mobile takes the win. Almost half (47%) of online shoppers on Black Friday use a smartphone with desktop shoppers coming in at 44%.

 

IRELAND’S APPETITE FOR BLACK FRIDAY

Businesses can rest assured that Irish shoppers are eager to engage with Black Friday retail events. Between October 2018 and November 2018 retail sales volumes enjoyed a boost thanks to Black Friday and Cyber Week deals as Irish consumers got into the online shopping spirit. In fact, research by Black Friday Global found that last year in Ireland, there was an 1852% increase in sales on Black Friday compared to an ordinary day.

Moreover, the research found that the majority of Irish consumers are planning to shop in brick and mortar and online environments, with the typical consumer expecting to spend approximately €300 euro and buy four products on average.  The most popular categories among Irish Black Friday sales? Electronics, Shoes, Clothing, Cosmetics and Jewellery.

Want to boost your sales and get your business in on the Black Friday action? Check out our Black Friday planning guide here.

 

To keep your e-commerce website running smoothly over the Black Friday/ Cyber Monday period, investing in high-speed business broadband is key. Click here to learn about our award-winning business broadband.

Don’t miss out and be sure to check out our Virgin Media Business Black Friday deals here.