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Black Fortnight UK Shoppers’ Path To Purchase Begins On Average Two Weeks Before Black Friday

Black Friday 2021 likely to reverse recent consumer trend of ‘save not spend’, despite ongoing supply chain issues

As retailers gear up for Black Friday, data from Criteo the global technology company that provides the world’s leading Commerce Media Platform  shows that UK consumers start their holiday shopping journey an average of 15 days before completing a Black Friday purchase. Of the countries surveyed, only US consumers starts their journey later (14 days), whereas France (18), Germany (24) and Japan (34) are all much earlier.

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Recent September ONS figures have shown a prolonged slowdown in consumer spending until this point, adding the possibility consumers could reverse the trend after an exceptionally long period of saving. This certainly would keep with tradition; even in 2020, sales growth in the UK increased 33% year-on-year through the first three weeks of November and sales increased by 283% on Black Friday compared to the average in October.

Combined with ongoing global supply chain issues, the need for consumers to guarantee Christmas presents are under the tree before December 25th points to a potentially bumper Black Friday of both personal shopping and gift purchasing.

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Despite the unpredictability, seasonal shopping is expected to remain a heavily online event. A third (39%) of people rely on search engines when browsing for products, followed by brand websites or apps (32%), a retailers’ website or app (29%) and online ads (26%). While a third (33%) of consumers state that the last product they discovered, and subsequently bought, happened in-store, almost half (47%) of Brits used click-and-collect options this year for the perfect balance of online and offline convenience.

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What’s more, last year apparel & accessories, toys & games and electronics were the top three products to see a spike in sales, all exceeding a 350% increase on Black Friday 2020 in comparison to the average in October.

Nicolas Rieul, Managing Director Western Europe at Criteo added:

“This Black Friday season presents a challenge to many brands and retailers – but also a great opportunity, with so many months of cautious shopper behaviour preceding the November ‘peak’ period. With supply chain issues causing logistical difficulties and the prospect of longer discounting periods eating into profits, retailers and brands need to ensure they are taking advantage of any extra demand to help with diminishing margins. With UK shoppers starting their ‘path to purchase’ two weeks earlier than Black Friday itself, retailers should prioritise engaging with shoppers well ahead of time – online and offline – or else risk missing a great chance to capitalise on a potential goldrush during peak season.”

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