With Black Friday falling a week closer to Christmas than it did in 2018, shoppers are expected to come out in force They are likely to use the Black Friday shopping weekend to kick off their Christmas shopping, with bagging good deals front of mind.
We have conducted research around shopping habits and consumer attitudes toward the Black Friday weekend, and we're happy to present our insights and opinions here. 1,000 Irish adults were surveyed online between 26 September to 4 October 2019. The data has been weighted to be nationally representative.
The Black Friday shopping weekend in Ireland has matured from being a niche to becoming the norm. Our research this year shows that 33% of Irish consumers definitely planning to purchase over the period including Black Friday and Cyber Monday, with an additional 47% willing to be lured by the power of a good deal.
Shoppers are interested in buying gifts for their families (70%), but purchasing for themselves is a factor that retailers cannot ignore. 68% of shoppers plan to make these indulgent purchases, with younger shoppers much more inclined to purchase for themselves at 77%.
Our research indicates that consumers are clearly interested in shopping over the Black Friday weekend with 33% stating they intend to purchase. With 47% stating that they will purchase if they see a good deal, it is evident that providing value is essential in converting these shoppers into customers. With all age groups engaging over the Black Friday weekend, ensuring the right products are available at the right price is critical to winning the sale.
In Ireland, €251 is projected as the average Black Friday weekend spend, which is in line with our UK and European neighbours. Younger shoppers aged 18-34 are spending less with an average of €218, and the 35-54 group spend the highest at €281.
Electrical and technology products are most in demand. 68% of male shoppers are expected to shop this category, compared to 43% for females. Fashion and footwear are the categories second most shopped by women (39%), and especially younger shoppers, where 47% expect to spend the most in this category. Understanding the purchasing journey and intentions of different shoppers within product categories is essential in shaping winning strategies.
Understanding your shoppers and their behaviour is critical to unlocking the sale. With advance research now a key element of everyday shopping behaviour, retailers need to be prepared to engage with these customers. Shoppers enter stores already primed with product knowledge with 21% of consumers knowing the exact brand and product that they will purchase ahead of time. One in six (16%) shoppers think about their Black Friday spend from mid October and are investing time in research.
While online shopping can present impulse purchase opportunities, retail stores need to maximise this impulse opportunity. Clear deal communication, stock availability and well-informed store colleagues can make all the difference between a sale and a missed opportunity. 24% of shoppers are prepared to spend wherever a good deal presents itself. An additional 8% are 'accidental shoppers' with no plans to purchase but are prime impulse shoppers who can be converted by the right deal.
The Black Friday weekend will be all about Christmas shopping. This year, it falls a week closer to Christmas and aligns closer to consumers' monthly payday than in 2018. The expectation is that shopping will be more substantial over the weekend than it was last year. There are significant spending projections. 36% of consumers expect to purchase up to a quarter of their Christmas gifts that weekend with a further 28% buying up to half their Christmas gifts.
Online sites and physical stores are more likely to experience higher traffic and footfall. This presents considerable store operational challenges in terms of store traffic, product availability and staff scheduling.
Black Friday has historically been a store-based event. With the growth of online retail and the increased prevalence of Cyber Monday, the weekend has seen online become a dominant force. Irish survey respondents expect that 62% of their Black Friday weekend spend will be transacted online. However, the remaining 38% predicted to be spent in-store presents significant opportunities for both consumers and retailers. Consumers are seeking value for money, and retailers need to ensure their stores are ready for trade.
Winning the store sale is critical but Irish retailers and brands cannot ignore the direction of online traffic. With a significant proportion of online sales going overseas, locally-based businesses must adapt accordingly in order to win the Irish consumer. They must build fully integrated online capabilities which allows shoppers engage on a pure online basis only or a combination of online and the store.
Whilst online continues to grow and mature, Irish survey respondents expect to spend a higher proportion of their Black Friday weekend purchases in store compared to other EU survey participants. This is a good news story for Irish retailers, but being ready for trade is critical. With consumers out and willing to spend albeit demanding value, retailers who do not strategise accordingly are missing an opportunity to drive footfall. Equally, the potential to build long-term customer relationships which can be harvested long after the Black Friday sales may be missed.
Winning the deal is dependent on several factors. While a deal is essential, excellent customer experience is equally important. Irish customers still seek out quality and a wide product range. Deals remain at the centre of Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, but retailers can't lose sight of making the shopping experience easy and seamless.
Consumers are clear about what frustrates them with 35% stating that stock availability is an issue. Busy stores (27%), websites being too busy and crashing (25%) and difficulty finding an item (17%) are cited as the next largest dislikes. An emerging issue is the fact that 16% are not confident that they got a genuine deal when they make a purchase.
Building trust with customers is critical over the Black Friday period. Those retailers who gain it are more likely to be rewarded with long-term customer loyalty. Rather than viewing Black Friday as a stand-alone event in the shopping calendar, the role it plays in wider consumer engagement needs to be addressed if long-term value is to be realised.