“Disappointing response” to Black Friday sales as retailers push discounts earlier than ever

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According to a tracker of 305 retailers run by IMRG and Capgemini, retailers have significantly accelerated their Black Friday sales campaigns compared to previous years. The data reveals that there has been a 78 per cent increase YoY for early activations during the first two weeks of November compared to the same period in 2021.

However, while there is an uptick of Black Friday campaigns by major retailers, online sales growth remained negative at -2.7 per cent YoY for the first week of November. The Average Basket Value (ABV) also saw a decline from £140 to £135, confirming that consumers are being more cautious about how much they are spending this year.

At a category level, beauty (+6.9 per cent) and home and garden (+5.8 per cent) saw a positive impact from a number of large retailers in those categories bringing their sales forward. Meanwhile, electricals were down -9.4 per cent despite many prominent retailers bringing their campaigns forward to promote the World Cup.

“A substantial increase in the number of retailers, particularly large ones, with a Black Friday campaign live in the first week of November still didn’t push overall growth positive,” says Andy Mulcahy, Strategy and Insight Director at IMRG. “The categories with the highest number of early participants were home and garden, health and beauty, electronics and clothing. Home and beauty seem to have benefited the most, but electronics, where retailers focused heavily on televisions for watching the World Cup, was still down -9.4 per cent against -14 per cent for the same week in 2021. So that feels like a disappointing response from shoppers.”

Simon Binge, commerce senior manager, customer transformation at Capgemini, adds: “As predicted, UK retailers are beginning their Black Friday campaigns earlier than ever before in an attempt to stimulate demand. What is more surprising is the relative lack of activity from shoppers. Despite a huge amount of activity, sales for the first week of November still trail last year at -2.7 per cent YoY.  These early results are likely to be causing retailers to review their promotional plans for the Black Friday weekend, opting for deeper discounts and more attractive promotions, with the goal of winning the greatest share possible of an ever-shrinking wallet.”