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Everything you need to know about Black Friday 2019

4 min read

25 November 2019

Features Editor, Real Business

Black Friday will take place on November 29 in the UK. Here's everything you need to know about this year's upcoming event.

Black Friday is a retail event that is widespread across the US, UK and many other countries. Today, it’s considered one of the most significant shopping events in the retail calendar.

Taking place annually, (this year on November 29 in the UK), businesses will offer mass discounts across an entire range of consumer products, from fashion to household appliances and even holidays.

As Black Friday has grown in popularity, businesses of all sizes (from Amazon, John Lewis to SMEs engaging with it in their own way), competition is rife among retailers vying with each other to offer consumers the best deals.

But Black Friday is changing…

As online purchases become increasingly popular among consumers over visiting high street stores, more businesses are investing in their website technology to maximise the chances of sales on the day.

Where did Black Friday begin?

Originating in the United States, Black Friday takes place the day after the American holiday of Thanksgiving.

As many Americans are off work during this time, retailers tend to drop prices to encourage consumers to buy, thereby kicking off the festive trading season.

A growing trend in the UK

Black Friday has been growing in popularity among retailers and consumers in the UK since 2013, and last year was no exception.

In 2018, UK consumers spent £1.23bn over the Black Friday weekend, with experts saying sales growth hit record highs in November that year, beating Christmas sales.

Generally, retailers don’t announce their Black Friday plans until very close to the event, and often encourage consumers to sign up to mailing lists ahead of time.

It’s been known that some physical retailers even open their stores as early as 6 am on Black Friday.

Cyber Monday

Cyber Monday is the successor day to Black Friday, taking place the Monday after Black Friday, (December 2 in the UK this year).

Cyber Monday was traditionally associated with purchasing tech goods online, whilst Black Friday was its store-based counterpart.

Today, both retail days make up more of a combined and largely online retail event.

UK shopper sentiment this year

According to a survey conducted by PwC this year, 52% of respondents are interested in Black Friday 2019. However, this percentage is lower than in other countries, (South Africa – 88%, Germany – 77%).

The survey also revealed a lack of trust among UK consumers about the Black Friday deals available. Where 29% say the deals aren’t “exciting” enough, while 20% believe the deals aren’t “genuine.”

For example, while half of South Africa’s Black Friday shoppers plan their purchases in advance, 30% of UK consumers wait until the day to decide what to buy.

The deal matters

Yet only 8% of UK shoppers intend to avoid the event altogether, suggesting the terms of the ‘deals’ are more important to UK consumers rather than the event itself.

The findings also show that UK shoppers planning to buy on Black Friday are planning to buy more, with the average spend predicted to rise to £224 (from £202 last year).

Electrical and online

This year, the most popular product category is set to be electrical products, (53%), followed by fashion which has dropped from 45% last year to 29% this year.

Online purchases are only growing in popularity, with 77% of transactions expected to be conducted online. Consumers are also more likely to do their ‘pre-sale’ research online, (51%).

Read our guide(s) to Black Friday 2019:

1. How to set yourself up for success on Black Friday and Cyber Monday

2. Could new digital tools herald Black Friday success for SMEs?

3. How to prepare your store for Black Friday 2019

4. Black Friday 2018 results: How to win in 2019