The popular shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday are almost here.
Since early 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought a high degree of uncertainty to the global economy, in a year already destabilised by the proximity of Brexit.
Notwithstanding turbulent, the e-commerce industry has grown steadily during the same period. In this article, AVASK explores the latest figures and trends for this year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday. We also provide an overview of the main pain points of consumers around the world, and how the coronavirus pandemic could affect these beloved shopping events.
See AVASK Black Friday promotion here.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday statistics for 2020
The final two months of 2020 will continue to reflect the online shopping habits shaped and formed during the first lockdown. This holiday season, the UK e-commerce sales surge is projected to reach 16.7%, resulting in a total of £28.51 billion and accounting for 32.2% of total UK holiday sales. UK shoppers are forecasted to spend £88.54 billion during November and December this year. Unsurprisingly, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are set to play an important role in digital shopping holidays in the UK.
With the Amazon Prime Day (read our previous article for more information) and the Early Black Friday Deals preceding Black Friday and Cyber Monday, it is safe to say that major e-commerce platforms are lengthening the holiday shopping period and encouraging UK consumers to get ahead of the game and start their holiday shopping early.
Which challenges will consumers face this year during the holiday shopping season?
- Job losses – due to the unemployment and underemployment caused by COVID-19 pandemic, many people will have to tighten the shopping budget to make sure their personal finances are under control.
- Touchless retail shopping mode – Many people have concerns about the health risks associated with crowded in-store shopping, and few people are willing to queue up outside of the stores due to social distancing and limited in-store capacity.
- Citizens and higher-risk shoppers – Those members of society who have been advised to stay indoors might not be as tech-savvy and they might require guidance for online shopping. It is interesting to note that from March 2020 40% of consumers over 60 tried online shopping for the first time.
- Delivery – With the disruption to supply chains and shipping, UK delivery services are currently running at full capacity, and therefore consumers might experience longer delivery times.
How will Black Friday look different this year?
As with every other aspect of our life, the coronavirus pandemic will affect the holiday season and Black Friday. This is what will change this year:
- Shopping period started early – Retailers have been vigorously promoting special offers and encouraged early seasonal purchases to release shipping stress in peak time since early October. We expect this will weigh on Black Friday and Cyber Monday heavily.
- Changes in gifting – The pandemic will force consumers to define what essentials and non-essentials mean to them. Experiential gifts will be in less favour of than the essential or “feel good” products.
- Online shopping transition – Historically, during the in-store Black Friday events, we have seen examples of consumers exhibiting bad behaviour and fighting for the best deals. This scenario will be unlikely to happen as Black Friday this year is going to move from a largely in-store event to an online one. The click-and-collect shopping method might be used more often than usual.
- Different retail shopping strategy – Needless to say, people will be wary of crowds this year. However, retail shopping as a social activity will not be neglected nor abandoned. With social distancing rules in mind, retailers will try to approach the shopper with different strategies from product selection to shopping experience and customer journey.
In conclusion, 2020 is set to be a strong year for online Black Friday and Cyber Monday online shopping, despite the difficult economic and financial circumstances caused by COVID-19. The traditional holiday pattern of consumption will continue with some interesting and noteworthy changes that have been brought about by the current COVID-19 pandemic.
Suggestions from AVASK to e-sellers
You may now be wondering: how can I make the most of this year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday? Our e-commerce experts have put together the top tips you should follow to have an incredible holiday season:
- Offer low budget gifts – In times of financial shortfall, bargains and essentials are what consumers look for more than luxury products. When it comes to pricing strategy and product positioning in the new normal, it is important that sellers focus on offering the “right” and the “must-have” product.
- Keep an eye on stock level – Do not forget that, at the end of 2020, Brexit will become a reality. One of our suggestions on preparing for Brexit is splitting your stock between the UK and EU. Thus, after deciding what are the “right” products, you will then need to make sure the right level of stock is shipped to the corresponding marketplaces.
If all your products arrive in an EU country and you wish to continue selling in the UK, we suggest you start establishing the percentage of your monthly sales in the UK and Europe, and plan on the stock levels to be shipped to the UK. If you currently import mainly into the United Kingdom, it is equally important to establish as to how many sales take place in Europe compared to the UK and what stock levels would be required in each side of the Channel.
- Be a carer – Use your e-shop to show your customers you care about them in times of crisis. For instance, set up notifications on delivery time adjustments, extend the return period and make your product description relevant to consumers in responding to the pandemic. By doing so, consumers’ brand loyalty and trust can be won or maintained in this season, which will continually contribute to sellers’ success even after this pandemic.
- Offer bundles – Brits love bundles, especially when stock fillers are called into play. Bundle up your products to make shoppers feel they are making less transaction but getting more value.
- Keep your paperwork safe – In light of the upcoming 2021 UK VAT changes, you should keep a log of your paperwork including shipping, warehousing and sales records. Depending on company registration, whether you use an OMP to facilitate your sales and where you are storing goods, the responsibility for collecting and remitting VAT to HMRC will fall on either you or the OMP. Please get in touch with AVASK if you have any questions on how the upcoming changes to UK VAT will impact your business.