2 December 2015 | Team Tamar

How Mobile won Black Friday

tmp_9976-apple-iphone-95386895With the dust now settling on both Black Friday and Cyber Monday, there are likely to be a few puzzled faces in the retail departments of the UK’s favourite brands this week – especially the ones who didn’t anticipate the shift to digital. As has been widely reported in the press, Black Friday and Cyber Monday both set records, but mainly due to the increase in online sales.

According to ShopperTrak, highstreet sales in the US fell from $11.6billion in 2014 to (a still impressive) $10.6 billion in 2015. However, equivalent sales online jumped by 14% to $2.72 billion in the US – or $4.45billion if you believe Adobe (presumably reporting global numbers).

Here in the UK, where Black Friday is a relatively new concept (remember all those Morrisons stampede videos from 2014?) the growth was more impressive, with Britons spending £1.1billion online – up 36% on last year.

The real winner of the weekend was mobile sales, with one third of all shoppers using a mobile to grab a bargain – leading to mobile sales contributing 22% of the online total – up a whopping 70% on 2014.

If we take a look at Cyber Monday – traditionally the online equivalent of Black Friday – online sales were even more impressive. US figures were reported to be as high as $3billion.

As with Black Friday, Cyber Monday saw mobile sales soar, with Tablet+Mobile accounting for 32% of all sales.

So, with Black Friday and CyberMonday traditonally being the “on” and “offline” equivalent, the boundaries now seem much less clear – it almost seems to point to Cyber Monday being a pointless-to-differentiate ‘thing’ now.

So why did Cyber Monday seem so much more impressive than Black Friday, especially here in the UK?

To the untrained eye, it would be quite easy to lay the ‘blame’ for Black Friday’s disappointing numbers in the general shift to online shopping. But in reality, Black Friday is just as much of an online ‘thing’ as it is offline. Global retailers like Amazon and eBay made massive amounts of noise about Black Friday, with a lot less fan-fare made following the weekend.

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As somebody who likes a bargain, I spent my fair share of Friday/Monday (only during my lunch break, naturally…) hunting for bargains. On sites like Amazon, Argos and the like, the deals seemed to be exactly the same across Friday and Monday – and often the week leading up to them. Yet another argument that Black Friday and Cyber Monday are really just two sides of the same coin now.

So why the big shift online then? As if we really need to ask. Let’s face it, anybody who is surprised that online sales set records this year has clearly not been keeping pace with the global shift to online-retail. Added to that you’ve got the poor weather and the hype from 2014 putting a lot of people off queueing.

Whichever way you choose to slice up the numbers, the big winner of the 2015 “post Thanksgiving, pre-Christmas sales period” (I guess that’s why they use a catchier name) is mobile shopping. So if you’re still not quite sure how mobile plays in to your digital strategy for 2016, can I suggest you get your thinking hats on?

Team Tamar