Black Friday in the UK is not as relevant for shoppers as in the US, Mintel analysts suggest

As Mintel European retail analysts foresee, this year’s Black Friday will generate sales growth of 80-100% comparing to the last year’s sales of around £100 million. However, shopper engagement in this pre-Christmas season in the UK will remain relatively low as it was lat year. Just 15% of the surveyed consumers said they made major pre-holiday purchases during Black Friday in 2013.

Another UK-specific trend is that shoppers mainly look for electric appliances, and buy them online, not in stores. The latest study on digital shopping trends by Razorfish has revealed that around 72% of UK shoppers feel more excited when their online purchase arrives than when they buy things in store.

Pic.: percentage of those who "get more satisfaction" receiving a parcel from an online retailer, Razorfish's "Digital Dopamine" report 2014
Pic.: percentage of those who «get more satisfaction» receiving a parcel from an online retailer, Razorfish’s «Digital Dopamine» report 2014

The most active UK retailers that started promotional holiday sales campaigns in early November were Amazon, Shop Direct and John Lewis, as well as Tesco and Sainsbury.

Although Black Friday’s sales forecasts this year seem optimistic, Mintel analysts say that this historical shopping day, more relevant in the US rather than in the UK, is seen by many retailers as a kick-starting point for the Christmas shopping season, and will not reach the scale of traditional January or summer sales.

As for the US-specific trends, Mintel analysts admit that this year a number of major retailers, such as Costco, Sam’s Club, Home Depot, Lowe’s, Dillard’s, Nordstrom, GameStop, DSW, Petco, Marshall’s and TJ Maxx, have decided to close stores on Thanksgiving to allow employees to spend time with families. More and more retailers rely on the online channel with more aggressive pricing, faster and free shipping options and online-only exclusives.

According to calculations by the marketing agency 360i, last year nearly 92 million of Americans spent on Black Friday and Cyber Monday nearly $50 bn.