Will Black Friday Kickstart UK Christmas Shopping?

Expert publishing blog opinions are solely those of the blogger and not necessarily endorsed by DBW.

While many readers of this blog settle into Thanksgiving celebrations, those of us elsewhere in the world have to settle for keeping one eye on Christmas celebrations still a month away. Yet despite not celebrating the holiday itself, some UK retailers have been adopting the promotional themes that are traditional to this holiday period.

Led by Amazon, Black Friday shopping deals can be found across the UK retail landscape and each year more and more businesses jump on the opportunity to launch Christmas shopping deals. The promotional period is slowly becoming recognised by UK consumers for deals and as the start the process of ticking off the gift list for family and friends.

Market information suggests a boost from Black Friday is needed. November has followed October as a disappointing month of UK retail business, with reports suggesting sales are well down on expected levels. The indicators of a consumer led economic recovery in the third quarter of the year have been dampened by reports that suggest this has now slowed. Yet despite this, there is reported optimism that things will come good in December, with retailers staffing up in anticipation of a shopping rush.

It could be that this introduction of Black Friday has come at the expense of sales earlier in the month, with consumers waiting until now in the knowledge that deals are to be had? More likely is that it’s caution over spending that might be forgotten as we close in on Christmas and consumers perhaps choose to worry about the credit card bill come January. We will know soon enough if the rush is forthcoming and how well this key retail period has fared.

It’s certain that online sales will continue to grow at the expense of high street, with Deloitte forecasting that UK online sales will be up 19% although it’s interesting to note that they anticipate the hybrid online/offline click-and-collect model to be a key element this year. It’s possible this will help support high street performance to some degree, with consumers perhaps adding additional impulse items once they are in store. Either way, Black Friday is quickly followed by Cyber Monday for what is forecasted to be the busiest online shopping day of the year.

In books, Amazon UK has extensive Black Friday deals week promotions running, with up to 75% discount on some books available in the accompanying Lightning Deals promotions. Elsewhere in the book trade there’s a lack of promotions specific to this weekend with Waterstones, WHSmith and The Book Depository only featuring wider Christmas themes. Looking at the UK supermarket chains, it’s (Walmart owned) Asda that has jumped on the Black Friday opportunity.

Amazon UK is also featuring the Kindle Fire HD at a reduced price of £99 (roughly $150), this presumably is in part a response to the newly launched Tesco Hudl which is shipping for £119 and includes £100 of grocery vouchers in the box.

We will be able to reflect on the seasonal sales performance in January. At the moment it’s Amazon UK that is out in front as the most aggressive retailer trying to take advantage of this promotional weekend. They will, of course, continue to benefit from the movement from high street to online shopping but are clearly doing all they can to drive that as hard as possible.

Expert Publishing Blog
James Woollam

About James Woollam

James Woollam is the Managing Director of F+W Media International, the UK business of F+W Media. After nearly 10 years in the advertising and direct marketing industry, including 5 years at Saatchi & Saatchi London, James joined F+W Media to oversee the launch of new consumer eCommerce businesses and focus on digital project opportunities. He became Managing Director in March 2010 and has continued to lead the shift from legacy print businesses to digital first and direct to consumer revenue streams. James can be found at www.jameswoollam.com or @jawoollam

2 thoughts on “Will Black Friday Kickstart UK Christmas Shopping?

  1. Pingback: Is Black Friday going to Kickstart Christmas Shopping? | james woollam

  2. Pingback: Publishing Opinions | Will Black Friday Kickstart UK Christmas Shopping?


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *