Though you may not have known it by counting the number of high street shoppers, Black Friday in the United Kingdom saw significant gains over last year. The vast majority of spending was over online retail channels, where records were broken over previous Black Fridays.
John Lewis Website Had Busiest Hour Ever
The number of shoppers actually hitting the pavement and heading in to brick and mortar shops fell in 2017 compared to Black Friday 2016. That said, shoppers were out in abundance in the digital sphere. Britain’s online retailers kicked off the holiday shopping season with record breaking sales without the overwhelming crowds and traffic congestion.
Momentum continued to grow throughout the day as British consumers showed their increasing enthusiasm for the discount day inspired by the U.S. Overall, Barclaycard estimates that overall spending increased by 8 percent over last year. That represents a healthy growth rate and a promise that Black Friday does have a place among U.K. shoppers.
John Lewis called this discount-packed day “one of its most successful days.” In fact, that national department store chain said it experienced the busiest hour in online shopping that its website has ever seen. Whether or not its totals throughout the entire day were record breaking has yet to be seen.
“Sales on Johnlewis.com both overnight and into the day itself have exceeded expectation. We expect traffic will continue to the website throughout the weekend,” said John Lewis operations director, Dino Rocos.
2016’s In-Store Experience Was Much Wilder
Last year at this time, headlines were made about shoppers getting into fights and nearly rioting to get their hands on the best bargains. This was particularly true among supermarket shoppers. However, this year fewer supermarkets participated and those that did limited their deals.
Currys/PC World on Oxford Street in London was ready for the crowds and drama they experienced last year. However, when the doors opened early to accommodate all the consumer zeal, a single shopper strolled inside to pick up a laptop he had pre-ordered. Several hours later, things picked up significantly, but were still down when compared to last year.
“It was not Black Friday but mid grey week,” said Springboard’s Diane Wehrle. That firm tracks consumer traffic. “With the budget this week and concerns about the economy, people are feeling fairly cautious about spending money on stuff they possibly don’t really need,” she said.