Black Friday fails to save the day as November online growth slumps

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National discounting event Black Friday failed to save November’s e-commerce figures, according to a new report, which reveals a drop in growth compared to the same period last year.

While Black Friday itself was the most successful in history for online retailers, with a growth rate of 11.7% compared to 2016, the isolated event failed to translate into wide-spread growth throughout the rest of the month as year-on-year sales report reveals a drop.

November fell short of expectations as UK online retail sales crept up 11.5%, notably below the November growth average for the past four years of 18.3%, the latest figures from the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index show.

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While a growth rate of 11.5% falls below e-commerce expectations for November, the figure is in line with the rate of growth throughout 2017.

Bhavesh Unadkat, principal consultant in retail customer engagement, Capgemini, said: “While the Black Friday window offered a small spike in performance, it was nowhere near as impactful as the industry would have hoped.

“The growth in average basket value actually supports this, with ABV being up across most sectors. Its figures essentially serve as a proxy for discount levels – implying that customers are downgrading on brand or price point but increasing the volume of items included within their baskets.”

November’s overall YoY growth was also lower than the 12.7% average across the three months prior, from September to November.

Over Black Friday it was the medium-sized retailers, websites which generate between £10-100 million per year, that tended to secure the highest share of sales growth overall, while the results from the large retailers, those with websites that generate over £100 million a year, were more varied.

Justin Opie, managing director, IMRG: “Black Friday is all about discounting in the mind of the shopper and it’s perhaps unsurprising that, while ordering activity is high over that period, revenue growth is struggling to keep pace over November as a whole due to the long lead-in to the Black Friday period.

“It does raise a question regarding how retailers can actually assess success over that period. On the one hand, securing share of sales away from their competitors is obviously always important to retailers, but it might be that the measurement of success over the Black Friday period is less about order volumes and more about the longer-term view.”

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