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How Black Friday and Cyber Monday have changed the way we shop

Author: Rachel Wheeler
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Black Friday, originally an American tradition, has taken the UK by storm in recent years.

The sales phenomenon falls the day after Thanksgiving and is regarded as the first day of the Christmas shopping season. Now no longer a 24-hour event, Black Friday runs throughout the weekend, ending on Cyber Monday, when retailers cut prices online.

Introduced into the UK by Amazon 8 years ago, Black Friday and Cyber Monday see vast discounts applied across the retail sector, both in store and online. In 2015, record sales were recorded in November, beating December to the top spot for the monthly growth rate.

Online sales are now responsible for nearly 20% of overall retail sales and November has seen average weekly sales nearly triple between November 2010 and 2017.

So what can we expect this year?

If last year is anything to go by, 2018 should be another record-breaking ecommerce season. Although preliminary figures have shown that the number of transactions have increased but the amount spent has actually dropped.

Despite this uncertainty, forecasts suggests consumers will spend £7billion across the sales weekend and 62% of adults are planning on taking part compared with 36% last year.

With Cyber Monday now extending into Cyber week, we can expect sales to run into December, meaning that all of those waiting for payday will not miss out!

Statistics compiled by PwC show Northern Ireland and London have the biggest interest in Black Friday/Cyber Monday and men are expected to spend £60 per head more than the average woman. 25-34 year olds are the biggest spending age group and although 18-24 year olds are the most interested age group, their average spend is considerably less than other age demographics. Shoppers in London will spend the most this weekend and the biggest spend across the nation is expected to be on electricals and technology.

Whilst the majority of retailers start getting ready for Black Friday and Cyber Monday months before the event itself, some retailers such as Primark, Asda, B&Q and Marks & Spencer have decided not to take part in the flash sales. This is due to some retailers not selling products that lend themselves to the event, whilst others have opted out due to principle, believing it encourages over-consumption.

It is thought that Cyber Monday is the preferred deal day for many consumers, for being able to shop within the comfort of your own home, removing the need to camp out and become an aggressive version of yourself as you battle with strangers for the last item on the shelf.

With this in mind, it is expected that three quarters of all spending will take place online.

Regardless of whether you love or loathe what has now become the biggest sales event in the calendar, it has become a good excuse for consumers to self-indulge or kick start their Christmas shopping.

Rachel Wheeler is a Senior Digital Recruitment Consultant at Forward Role, specialising in Product, Trading and Ecommerce. She can be found tweeting at @forwardrole_rw and on LinkedIn.

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