Consumers continue to splash the cash despite record Black Friday

The lure of Black Friday has done little to dent consumer spending in January. With the most anticipated shopping day out of the way consumers have continued to splash the cash in December. The latest report from Salmon shows that while Black Friday sales were more successful than ever before, consumers are spending significantly more in December than they did just 12 months ago.

Online traffic in the first two weeks of December is up 17 per cent compared to the same period last year, with total number of orders up by a fifth (20 per cent). Conversion rates – where customers not only visit but purchase items online – was also up 7 per cent in the same period.

Black Friday day itself remained hugely fruitful for retailers despite an increase in inflation and a tightening of purse strings due to economic uncertainty; Salmon data shows orders up a massive 64 per cent year-on-year (orders for the whole Black Friday week were up 74 per cent) and traffic up 50 per cent compared to the same period. Conversion was also up 31 per cent.

As predicted by many industry experts, mobile dominated proceedings on Black Friday. IMRG reported that 39 per cent of retail UK retail sales were completed on a smartphone, with the device taking the highest share of sales against desktop and tablet. Salmon’s own data even showed a record high of 66 per cent of traffic coming from mobile devices (tablet and mobile).

But it may not just be mobiles that will decide Christmas spending; this December could also see the first Christmas where consumers order their gifts through voice-led Zero-UI (User Interface) devices such as Google Home or Amazon Echo. Research shows that 45 per cent of consumers are already using or plan to use digital assistants in the near future. And there’s appetite for it, with 41 per cent saying they would love to be able to shop using voice activation devices.

Patrick Munden, Global Head of Retail and Marketing at Salmon, said: “In what has been a bumper year for many retailers during the Black Friday period, a fresh opportunity awaits in the run-up to Christmas. While some have legitimate concerns over whether Black Friday has hijacked their December profits, what we’re seeing in our operations room is a strong upsurge in number of orders and traffic compared to this time last year.

“With voice-enabled devices currently the biggest craze – and lots more of these devices purchased around Black Friday! – retailers need to be prepared for this new channel for customers to purchase goods. As we head towards the end of December, every retailer will need to ensure they have all their back- and front-end systems in place to cope with the increase in demand if they are to really reap the rewards of seemingly indulgent consumers.”

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