Black Friday isn’t just an online phenomenon, and offline opportunities are growing fast

Black Friday has long been a promotional phenomenon in the USA, but now the sales event is going global – and not just for online retailers.

Started in the States as a means to kick-start Christmas sales, Black Friday is now one of the busiest retail events of the year. Indeed, Time Inc. notes that the promotion has grown into a multi-day affair, with many stores opening on Thanksgiving to capture consumers’ wallets before they blow their budget online.

Black Friday is also having a growing impact in further markets. A recent poll by eDigitalResearch revealed 72% of UK consumers have now heard of Black Friday, while footfall data from the past 4 years clearly shows its increasing influence across Europe:

chart 1

While its impact varies from region to region – Germany experienced the most dramatic increase, for example, but Poland’s reaction was more modest – there was a significant spike in footfall on Black Friday last year.

Interestingly, this wasn’t a one-day phenomenon, either. Whereas online traffic tends to fall away when promotions end, this graph outlining footfall across Black Friday weekend (Friday-Sunday) demonstrates a longer lasting positive impact for bricks and mortar retailers.

chart 2

Black Friday 2014 is already upon us, but this soaring appetite shows the lucrative opportunities open to retailers and shopping centres in 2015 for those that are missing out this year.

Consumers want value for money all year round, but especially at Christmas time; understanding and analysing footfall enables businesses to identify where new trends are influencing shopper behaviour, and react to these changes – both to increase profitability and optimise customer experience.

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