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Three key trends to consider for peak planning 2017

Christmas comes earlier every year so to help you prepare we’re looking back at key stats from peak 2016 to give you some idea of what to expect in 2017.

Trends from last year

For many small businesses in the retail sector the final six weeks of the year can make or break their performance of the year – with some retailers reporting a massive 60% of their annual sales in this period alone.

Black Friday is now firmly entrenched in the UK retail calendar, extending the Christmas Peak trading period with a much earlier start. With this in mind, how will your business respond and what’s your plan for navigating through this long intense festive period? We look at three trends to help you plan the months ahead to Christmas.

Trend 1. Black Friday still dominates spending but activity is spread over ‘peak week’

Black Friday first dominated the UK headlines in 2014 with stories of shoppers fighting over deals in store as they hunted for bargains on a single day retailing bonanza. This led to shoppers avoiding the high street as they moved online to find their discount deals over what was to become a long shopping weekend running Thursday to Monday in 2015.

The trend of extending peak continued in 2016 as ‘peak week’ was established in 2016, running from Monday to Monday, and for some retailers even longer, as discounts were advertised throughout the month of November. In fact, of the 75 top retailers tracked by the IMRG, over half had launched or were advertising their Black Friday campaign on their homepage by 14 November – two weeks before the start of ‘peak week’.

This hive of activity generated £6.5bn in sales during ‘peak week’. However, most of the sales activity remained the same over long weekend period as in 2015, with Black Friday itself still generating the most sales.

Breakdown of spending across Thursday – Monday ‘black Friday long weekend’.

Thur Fri Sat Sun Mon
19% 36% 13% 17% 15%

Additional stats:

  • Average order value was 9% higher over black Friday period compared to Christmas
  • Conversion rate was 106% above the previous week and up 10% on the previous year

Last minute opportunities the week before Christmas
In 2016 two further key dates emerged for online shoppers; 19 December – the Monday before Christmas 2016 – and 23 December. These days are significant for ecommerce retailers. 19 December represented the final day shoppers could confidently expect to receive a loved one’s gift in time for Christmas. And 23 December offered last minute shoppers one final opportunity for a next day delivery or click and collect. The chart below illustrates this spoke in sales growth.

Christmas Sales Growth - YOY

Source for chart 'Salmon, Black Friday and Christmas Preview 2017'

Trend 2. Transacting wherever they are

In 2016 we saw mobile devices overtake desktop as the preferred shopping device. It appears many shoppers are on high alert to deals as they are being announced, wherever they might be. A staggering 68% of traffic to ecommerce sites came from mobile devices and accounted for 51% of transactions across the five-day Black Friday long weekend. This trend continued into the Christmas period with over 60% of orders completed on a mobile
Source for stats ‘Salmon, Black Friday 2017 – Peak trading ecommerce operations playbook’

Trend 3. Driven by price – but taking discounts with a pinch of salt

While savvy shoppers might be ready to buy during the discount season, they also hold back their spending in anticipation of discounts on the items on their wish lists. KPMG recently found 49% of Black Friday purchases to have been motivated by price – with 74% of those buying discounted products not willing to pay full price.

Shoppers however are wary that the deals aren’t all they seem – as 38% of shoppers used price comparison sites to check they’re getting the best deal during this period. This scepticism of discounts was likely fuelled by a report from consumer group Which? into ‘Misleading Black Friday deals’ in which they found that only half of offers are in fact cheaper than any other day in a five month period around the peak trading day.

Top tips to consider

  • The peak trading period is getting longer and extends by a few days every year. Ensure you’re ready for an even earlier start this year and watch the press for lead times
  • November is an important month, particularly the ‘peak week’. Decide now if and how your business will participate
  • Consumers are using their mobile devices to prompt and complete a purchase for items in their wish list. Ensure your website is mobile responsive and that your product can be comfortably viewed on any mobile device
  • Consumers have researched their products and are holding out for real deals and discounted offers. If margins are too tight and you can’t honestly offer a deal then focus on improving your product visibility online to ensure when consumers are searching for similar products, they’ll find your product in their comparisons

Ricky Jones E:
T: 020 7092 3588


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