by Angela Delaney
Black Friday around the world
Black Friday originated in the United States in the 1920s and is seen by many retailers as the festive start to the shopping season, with businesses slashing their prices in the lead up to Christmas. Traditionally taking place on the first Friday after Thanksgiving - between November 23 and 29 - in recent years the event has spread from America to countries across the world. This year, Black Friday will fall on Friday 23 November.
Who takes part?
Amazon is widely held as being responsible for introducing Black Friday to the UK in 2010; prior to this, the biggest sale shopping day of the year had been Boxing Day. Since the advocacy of Amazon, many heavyweight retailers in the UK, such as Argos, John Lewis and Currys PC World, followed suit and Black Friday deals are now commonplace across the high street and online
But the UK is not the only country that has embraced the event as an opportunity to boost sales in the run up to the holiday season. With American-owned companies around the world promoting Black Friday, the popularity of the sale spread to local manufacturers, businesses and retailers. As such, November deals can now be found across the globe, including in Canada, Scandinavia, Chile, China, France, Germany, Spain, Australia, Brazil and Singapore.
- Approximately 6.4 million Canadians take Black Friday off as a holiday
- China’s equivalent, ‘Singles’ Day’, 11 November, made over $1 billion in sales in the first five minutes in 2016
- Mexico’s big sale event is ‘El Buen Fin’, (‘The Good End’), and the government offers tax breaks to participating businesses
- To celebrate, Brazil offers deals on items from clothing to real estate and bank loans
- United Arab Emirates calls Black Friday, ‘White Friday’
Back in the UK
Last year, the UK spent £1.39 billion on online sales on Black Friday, according to online retailers trade body IMRG. This was an increase of 11.7% from 2016. In addition, Barclaycard reported that it processed a record-breaking 976 transactions per second between 12pm and 1pm on Black Friday, compared to 2016’s peak of 791 transactions per second.
Now in its eighth year in the UK, it seems clear that Black Friday, and the four-day discount period leading up to and including Cyber Monday, is set to continue, with record online sales predicted for 2018. Amazon, leading the charge, announced it will be hosting a ten-day sale from 16 November, and many retailers are set to follow suit - soft-launching their Black Friday discounts in the days and weeks leading up to 23 November.
How to prepare
It is vitally important for retailers and manufacturers alike to be as fully prepared as possible for the influx of orders over the Black Friday weekend. With the ongoing reliance on e-retail, online stores must ensure their websites are working as efficiently as possible, and pay special attention to their site’s mobile-responsiveness. For other top tips on how to prepare for the holiday season, check out our blog, 10 ways to get your business ready for Christmas.
Logistics is a key part of Black Friday’s success, and can make - or break - a business’s sales targets. A survey from YouGov found that almost half of customers who purchased goods in 2017 experienced issues with availability of items (28%), long delivery times (16%), or technical issues (10%). With this in mind, businesses should make sure they are stocked up well in advance of the big day, and have the logistics in place to ensure customers aren’t kept waiting.
World Options can help
If you are a business or manufacturer preparing for Black Friday and the upcoming festive period, World Options’ free, online shipping portal could be the logistics solution you are looking for. By using our portal, you can quickly compare rates and receive quotes from the UK’s leading couriers, and save your business valuable time and money in the process.
Our dedicated account managers are on hand to help you get set up and running with the portal as soon as you need it, and they’ll remain by your side to answer any queries and resolve any issues that might crop up by speaking directly with the couriers themselves - so you don’t have to.
For more help, check out our Ultimate Guide to Business Shipping, created to help your business save valuable time and money on your logistics this Black Friday and beyond.