Black Friday ANALYSIS

October 2020


Black Friday 2020: Business as usual?


ere, Nick Simon, Client Insight Director Consumer Electronics at GfK, provides his insight into the Friday frenzy and what this

year may look like after a frightening few months. In November 2019, nobody could have imagined

what this year’s Black Friday was going to look like, but now with not long to go, some elements seem a lot clearer.

The durables market in November last year actually fell back by five per cent

year on year, despite some sectors recording increases on Black Friday, in particular SDA (12 per cent) and consumer electronics (five per cent). January and February of this year were lacklustre, with no growth, however the

rest of 2020 has been characterised by unprecedented growth, from pre-lockdown panic buying,

through lockdown itself, to the third phase of stores re-opening. Important findings from the GfK Consumer Insights Engine in Q1 and Q2

2020: in answer to the question ‘did you purchase the product sooner than you had planned?’, 73 per cent of games consoles were claimed to have been purchased sooner (49 per cent in Q2). There were similar findings for TVs, mobile phones, laptops, printers and personal grooming. We also saw a lot of first time purchases of hot beverage makers and smart

speakers in Q2, as well as additional games consoles. In light of this information, it is no surprise that we have seen year-to-date

Hughes Chairman, Robert Hughes, says:

“This season will be very different – it will start much earlier, be very strong for home entertainment and much will be conducted online. The two weeks either side of Black Friday will significantly exceed the two weeks either side of Christmas I think. “Most nationals will be pursuing a ‘why wait’

strapline which can become self-fulfilling. My worry is that it may go very quiet after Christmas as Brexit and redundancy fears take hold while people start to budget for the holiday they didn’t take this year. So my advice is to go strong and go early!”

sales increases during lockdown and beyond versus the first nine months of 2019 to the tune of 34 per cent in IT, 14 per cent in SDA, eight per cent in CE, and four per cent in MDA. But what might that mean as the traditionally most important selling season comes round? Smart speakers shouldn’t be adversely affected, firstly because they seem to be

proliferating more and more as multiple purchases around the home, but also because brand new releases will be available by Black Friday, not least from Amazon. Online value grew dramatically in the three months when stores were

closed but also added to its presence even when the offline competition reopened, and looks likely to get well over half of Black Friday 2020 sales of all technical goods, having already moved from 41 to 47 per cent between 2018 and 2019. Even if the Spring lockdown is still the stuff of recent memory, there is no

reason why new restrictions shouldn’t engender similar buying behaviour, with important stimuli which could/should spark sales on Black Friday and beyond. Surely the “stay at home” qualities of SDA should generate similar enthusiasm

to that seen last November and earlier this year? It has been suggested that TV sales continue to be buoyant because the significant amount of money that would have been spent on watching live events has been, and will continue to be, invested in a variety of entertainment products. And what better time than Black Friday to secure a “bargain”? Finally, on a much more sombre note, consumers will be fearful of Brexit at

the end of the year. Throw in rising unemployment and some consumers might view Black Friday as the last chance to indulge themselves!

Adds Barrie Saxby, UK Sales Director at Morphy Richards:

“We are confident in peak season sales despite the unusual circumstances of Christmas 2020; we expect this final quarter of the year to benefit from a release of pent-up demand and a desire for the world to return to normality. “In terms of SDA and SKA specifically, we’re

predicting a very strong Black Friday and expect Christmas purchases to be made earlier, due to sales being brought forward. Overall, we think it will be a hearty result over the Christmas period as consumers enhance their kitchens and expand their cooking repertoire.”

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