Black Friday Isn’t The Appetiser — It’s The Cannibal That Eats Christmas

There are probably bigger things occupying most peoples’ minds today as Trump is sworn in, but UK marketers — particularly those in retail — got a piece of news that wasn’t too obvious at first inspection but leaps out once you crunch the numbers. The Office for National Statistics has officially revealed what we all probably thought was true. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are not an appetiser for Christmas — they are a pair online cannibals that eat it.

There has been a debate over the past couple of years that has seemed mind-bogglingly simple to unpick. On the one hand, some retail analysts have predicted the end of November sales are just there to get early shopping done and the numbers will pick up again in December. The other argument is more sensible: this is nonsense and people will simply get Christmas done early, hide presents and keep the credit card for the food purchases that obviously can’t be made a month before the big day.

Now we have the figures from the ONS to underscore that the common-sense argument is the correct one. The fourth quarter was good for retail, with sales up. December, for example, was up 4.3% on the corresponding month in 2015. However, it’s worth noting that it saw a 1.9% dip from November, the month before. Look at online sales and the figures are clear. December 2016 was up more than a fifth against December 2015, but there was a 5% dip in sales from the month before — November 2016. So as we went from November to December in 2016, total sales were down, and that dip was exacerbated online.

If you want the killer stat, compare sales figures for the Black Friday and Cyber Monday week (22nd to 28th November) and you’ll see order values were up 28% on the Christmas week of December 21st to 27th (which would obviously have taken in both last-minute shopping and the Boxing Day sales).

It really doesn’t take a genius to figure it out, does it? Black Friday and Cyber Monday have changed shopper behaviour. People don’t suddenly need more stuff. Everyone usually has a rough mental budget of what they are spending per person, and they are more than happy to let that figure go a little further a month before Christmas by seeking out a late November deal.

A lot is being written about these figures showing that we are increasingly shopping online, particularly mobile, but that’s a continuation of what we already know. It’s a trend that has been noticeable for a while now. The real importance to me is that these figures show we have changed the way we shop and retailers and their marketing teams will have to accept it. There is no late recovery once the bargains have been snapped up in November. It was a pipe dream that hasn’t panned out. People buy in the sales a month early and congratulate themselves on having “done” Christmas.

State Parks Offers Outdoors Over Stores on Black Friday November 25

State Parks Press – State Parks Offers Outdoors Over Stores on Black Friday November 25

The Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (State Parks) encourages all to freely enjoy state parks on Black Friday November 25. As an alternative to busy shopping centers, several parks across the state are offering special events and programs such as the Buy Nothing Day that allow visitors to recycle and repurpose items into gifts, the Thanksgiving Walk Off and even a surprise visit from Santa on Black Friday that is sure to bring enjoyment and excitement.

We encourage all to escape, explore and experience all that state parks have to offer,” said State Park Commissioner Rose Harvey.

State Parks are open year round and while our properties are family friendly and affordable they are free to enter on Black Friday. Extend the holiday gathering with family and friends by visiting a state park and connecting with nature and each other.

For a full list of state park programs on Black Friday and over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend please visit http://www.nysparks.com. Click on November Events right on the homepage.

While a majority of state parks do not charge this time of year the few parks that do such as Niagara Falls in Niagara County, Walkway Over the Hudson in Dutchess and Ulster counties, Rockefeller State Park Preserve in Westchester County, Minnewaska State Park Preserve in Ulster County, Connetquot River State Park Preserve and Bayard Cutting Arboretum in Suffolk County and others are waiving the vehicle entry fee for Black Friday November 25.

 

Black Friday helps ecommerce to a record November – spurred by heavy online discounting

InternetRetailing, December 20, 2016

Shoppers’ move to shop online this Black Friday helped to push November ecommerce spending up by 22.9% in November, according to IMRG figures. But the latest IMRG Capgemini eRetail Sales Index shows just how far retailers cut their prices, with the average basket of electrical goods falling to £119. That’s 22.7% less than at the same time last year – and 18.5% less than in October 2016. Average basket values also fell, year-on-year, in footwear, gifts, menswear and womenswear.

Justin Opie, managing director, at IMRG, said: “Black Friday has become cemented in the retail calendar, but it continues to challenge retailers on profitability. Its image has become heavily linked to discounting and many feel under pressure to slash prices in order to attract shopper attention. One trick is to try to use discounting to pull shoppers in, but restrict it to a selection of products in the hope that they will buy other products either at lower discounted rates or even full price, to help balance out any hit to margins overall. It may be that this approach was more successful in some sectors than others.

Bhavesh Unadkat, management consultant in retail customer engagement design at Capgemini, says that Black Friday is in effect eating into December sales. “Given that Black Friday has peaked year-on-year in the last three years, perhaps it’s no surprise that the index registered such a strong result in November.

“What we’re seeing however, is that this surge is actually cannibalising purchases across the peak period. Online sales the week before Black Friday fell an average 7%, while Boxing Day sales have dipped consistently over the last three years. This has even impacted Cyber Monday, with the bulk of shoppers making purchases between Thursday and Saturday, with sales then trailing off on the Sunday and Monday. In terms of what this means for retailers, maintaining momentum across the whole peak period has never been more important.”

Across the sectors, November sales of accessories rose by 60.5%, while gifts were up 47.2%, lingerie was up 35.8% and clothing was up 24.0%. The only sector that failed to grow was health & beauty, which was down 4.2%.

At the same time, multichannel retailers outperformed online-only retailers, turning in higher retail sales growth rates for only the second time this year, and by a significant difference of 9.9 percentage points.

Across mobile channels, tablets’ resurgence continued with sales completed on the device up 12.5% year on year. Sales on smartphones grew by 89.2% compared to last year. Both figures exclude travel retailers.

Black Friday move online borne out by sales figures showing ecommerce sales up by a quarter in November 2016

internetretailing.net, December 16, 2016, Over the course of Black Friday week, the perception was that more sales were taking place online, while fewer people headed to the high street. Official figures out this week seem to confirm that move, with news of online sales growth of almost a quarter in November.

The amount spent online rose by 24.9% during November, according to the Office for National Statistics’ (ONS) Retail Sales Index, compared to the same month last year, and by 3% compared with the previous month, October 2016.

At the same time, shoppers spent 5.9% more across the retail industry – which mostly takes place in shops – compared to last year, and 0.5% compared to the previous month. The increase came as shop prices went up for the first time in November for the first time since June 2014, by 0.1%.

In total, shoppers spent £34.2bn in the retail industry – or £8.5bn a week, while online spending reached £1.1bn a week. It seems that ecommerce grew its share of sales, while also contributing to overall growth. Online sales accounted for 15.8% of retail spending, compared to 13.3% in November 2015.

“Black Friday clearly swayed shoppers to log-on instead of hitting the high street, with e-tills ringing to the tune of a 24.9% year-on-year increase in the amount spent online,” said Paul Martin, UK head of retail at KPMG [IRDX VKPM]. “Clearly the shopping extravaganza is continuing to win favour with Brits, however it’s worth remembering that these figures only just capture Black Friday and not Cyber Monday – which will be included in next month’s instalment. They also don’t account for any returns shoppers might make, which could be higher than normal when impulse purchases require a second thought.”

Online food sales grew by 23.8%, or 5.2% of all retailing. The fastest growth came in household goods stores, where ecommerce sales grew by 33.7%, and accounted for 11.6% of all sales in the sector. Textile, clothing and footwear stores grew by 14.8%, to account for 15.1% of sales, while department store sales grew by 14.2% to account for 13.5% of all sales.

Martin said: “Household goods stores selling furniture, lighting and other appliances continued to perform particularly well. In fact, sales of electrical appliances shot up by as much as 19.1% compared to October, so promotions in this category clearly struck a chord with shoppers.

“Further reinforcing the direction of travel in relation to retail pricing, November noted the first year-on-year increase in average store prices since June 2014, albeit the largest increase came from petrol stations. Black Friday may well have boosted sales in November, but retailers will be hoping that the growth is prolonged into December.”

The ONS also saw a link between the increased sales and Black Friday discounts. Kate Davies, ONS senior statistician, said: “Retailers saw continued growth in the run up to Christmas. Department stores and household goods stores had a particularly strong month, especially in sales of electronic goods, boosted by ‘Black Friday’ deals.

“Annual growth in fuel sales, however, was at its lowest level for almost two years as prices increased at the fastest rate since 2011.”

At the same time, performance marketing specialist Webgains said that it saw Black Friday sales at more than 2,000 clients including Nike, Mothercare, Feelunique and Samsung, grow by 28.13%, compared to the same time last year – and warned that some brands could see a dip in Boxing Day sales as a result.

Richard Dennys, chief executive of Webgains said: “UK shoppers bought into Black Friday promotions more than ever this year, but brands must do all they can do ensure this isn’t at the expense of a profitable Christmas and Boxing Day period.

“Whilst the high street has been buoyed by overseas shoppers capitalising on the devalued pound, online brands must up their Boxing Day efforts by strategically placing promotions across the most effective media.”

Commenting on the ONS figures, Heather Barson, director for retail and hospitality, UK and Ireland at Fujitsu, said: “The latest ONS figures reveal a strong and thriving UK retail sector even during times of economic uncertainty. The Black Friday and Cyber Monday period clearly provided a significant boost, with sales up 5.9% compared to last year. The results also demonstrate how shoppers online habits are evolving, with online sales up 24.9%, compared to last November, and is a clear indicator of consumers becoming ever more at home with using digital channels to shop.

“This rise in popularity of online shopping shouldn’t be viewed as a threat to the high street however. What bricks and mortar retailers ought to be doing is embracing it as an opportunity to reinvent themselves. British shoppers still value high street stores, with 63% saying so in a recent survey, emphasising that touch and feel provides an important experience for consumers. However, the multitude of retail options, from online and social to mobile and in-store, have led to consumers becoming increasingly intolerant of retailers who don’t have a strong omnichannel strategy in place. It is essential therefore to have seamlessly integrated channels that flow from the shop floor, to the back end systems through to the online store. This will enable customers to move freely from one to the other during their shopping experience and shop the way they wish in this new digital age.”

‘Black November’ Serves up Highest Mobile Website Traffic in ’16 And Doubles the Sales for Independent Retailers

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — For independent retailers of durable home goods, Black Friday 2016—as well as the month of November—saw significant increases in online traffic, mobile use and sales over last year’s Black Friday holiday, according to Retailer Web Services (RWS), which began tracking comprehensive Black Friday stats on its network of retailer customer websites in 2015. The software solutions company has released the following results and analysis as of Nov. 30, 2016:

– The percentage of site visits from mobile devices nearly doubled from last year, 51 percent last month, compared to 27 percent in November 2015.

– Black Friday remained the No. 1 day of the year for overall traffic, sales and quote requests generated for the second year in a row.

– The amount of November sales RWS retailer customer sites generated for these local businesses more than doubled year over year: more than $43 million in ’16; $21 million in ’15.

– In 2016, 24 of the 30 days with the highest traffic were in November, reinforcing that it’s “Black November” now, according to RWS.

– In both 2015 and ’16, Thanksgiving Day was the No. 1 day of the year for mobile traffic.

“Year over year, not only were more people looking at our retailers’ websites in November, a considerably higher percentage were looking at them on smart phones,” said RWS Chief Operating Officer Jennie Gilbert. “These results show the shift to mobile in consumer online shopping behaviors—and the need for independent retailers’ sites to not only accommodate the mobile shopper in an engaging relevant way, but to win their business.”

For those RWS retailer customers with Level 4 WebFronts, there were many Black Friday digital deals to be had for consumers—more than 4,000 promotion landing pages—across the RWS network on the biggest names in home appliances and mattresses. The digital promotions that ran between Oct. 30 and Nov. 30 resulted in:

– Thousands of phone calls placed directly from mobile websites to independent retailers; hundreds of GPS navigations directly to the physical stores from mobile sites.

– More than 71 million banner views to retailer websites’ home pages.

– More than 2.5 million landing pages visits

– Navigation to nearly 2 million individual products associated with the promotions

– More than 33,000 rebate forms downloaded

During the busiest shopping holiday of the year, Sarah Richardson of KAM Appliances, a family-owned discount appliance store based in Cape Cod, Mass., made use of KAM’s Level 4 WebFront to keep track of online campaigns. “With three store locations (Hyannis, Nantucket and Hanover) and a variety of marketing programming going on, everything leads back to our website,” said Richardson. “Level 4’s best tool is the marketing analytics; we’re able to track the activity from the mobile site, how many emails are opened, rebate forms and more.”

‘Black Friday’ has ominous history

Article Source: “Black Friday” and “Black Monday” entries in The Oxford English Dictionary.

YOU say you shopped for Christmas bargains November 25, Black Friday. Or not! You couldn’t buck the crowd, right? The term, “Black Friday”, originated, it seems, in 1951, in reference to the congestion caused by hordes of shoppers in Philadelphia, and later as a day on which retailers’ sales accounts went from red to black.

And on the negative side, an industry publication, “Factory Management & Maintenance” complained, “Friday-after-Thanksgiving-itis is a disease second only to the bubonic plague in its effects. When you decide you want to sweeten up the holiday kitty, pick Black Friday to add to the list.”

A “Black Friday” occurred as early as the year 1610, in England. Not a day of shopping, students dubbed it examination day in the nations’ schools.

Black Fridays have long been a bane in both England and America. Friday 6, December, 1745, was the date on which the landing of the Young Pretender to the English throne, Bonnie Prince Charlie, was announced in London. Black Friday was the name given to May 11, 1866, the day on which a commercial panic caused the failure of the London banking house, Overend, Gurney, & Co.

Black Friday, September 24, 1869, a day of financial panic on Wall Street, brought on by the introduction into the financial market of a large quantity of government gold. In 1970, in remembrance, W.W. Fowler wrote, in Ten Years in Wall Street, “The sun rose up lightly and brightly on the morning of that black-Friday, September 24, 1869, as though the day were to be a jocund one.”

The Sunday Mail, Jan 25, 1991: “Practically no one foresaw that money and share prices in 1987 had reached dangerously high levels. ‘Black Monday’, October 1987, The Federal Reserve had to promise to supply enough money to keep business going.”

The Wall Street Journal November 27, 2006, reported, “Despite aggressive discounting throughout November and on Black Friday, WalMart Stores Inc. reported its weakest monthly sales in more than 10 years.” In 2009, Black Friday bankrupted investment houses and caused 25 suicides in New York City.

Let’s not stop with Black Fridays. We have had Black Mondays too. A popular belief in the unlucky character of Mondays is shown in British sources from the Old English period. In 1600, Shakespeare, in Merchant of Venice: “It was not for nothing that my nose fell a bleeding on black monday last.

Easter Monday 1916 was dubbed Black Monday in remembrance of the extreme cold on April 14, 1360, when large numbers of Edward III’s army died standing before Paris in severe frost.

In 1997, the publication “Big Issue,” June 9 reported, “Yuppie culture was predominantly an Eighties phenomenon, reaching its apogee with the Big Bang of October 1986, and its nadir with Black Monday a year later.

Whether Friday or Monday, black has colored a day of financial collapse, natural disaster, terrorism, military defeat, and, of course, shopping.