Stores, Sites and Black Friday Sales – Why Black Friday might not be plain Sale-ing.

Stores, Sites and Black Friday Sales – Why Black Friday might not be plain Sale-ing.

If you’ve been on the internet over the last week, you will have seen at least one notification for a Black Friday weekend sale. It’s become hard to ignore through everyday browsing.

Is Black Friday still having the impact on sales for retailers as it once did, and if so, who and why? We’ll get to the bottom of Black Friday in 2023 and discover ways you can ensure you’re prepared for any sale period!

Black Friday in the UK

As the western world has grown closer, our economic and festive ties to America have become tighter. In previous years, the Walmart rushes and flash sales that Black Friday brings to the US have become more prevalent on our screens.

In our usual reserved manner, only the largest of brick-and-mortar stores ever experienced this rush, but that doesn’t mean it’s not an important period for retailers of all kinds.

Since 2020 in the UK, Black Friday has consistently been primarily an online shopping period, where previously it had been predominantly in-store spending.

Below we can see the growing importance of ecommerce in the UK’s Black Friday spending. 

Graph showing the difference in spending on black Friday between offline and online spending

Data taken from Statista

What happened to Black Friday spending this year?

In 2022, PWC forecast Black Friday to have a total spend of £7.1 billion across the UK, however in 2023, PwC anticipated a £5.6 Billion in cumulative spending which is a massive drop – so what’s happened?

In 2022, the interest in shopping during the Black Friday period was at 61% amongst 2,000 over 18-year-olds surveyed by PWC, in 2023 this was just 44%. A sizable drop that echoes the economic state of the UK right now.

This hasn’t just affected the high-street, SimilarWeb reports show that traffic Year-on-Year (YoY) around Black Friday dropped 11%, with the Consumer Electronics sector suffering the most with a 30% drop in traffic, compared to 2022. SimilarWeb believes this is due to cautious shoppers, and shoppers that are more interested in experiences than things. This was shown by the travel sector, which saw a 7% traffic uplift on 2022, the most notable being AirBnB who saw a 352% increase in traffic over 2022.

It isn’t all doom and gloom though as Adobe Analytics noted an increase in spending for the Black Friday – Cyber Monday period with a total of £3.45 billion spent online in the UK, up 5.6% YoY.

Online only stores like Debenhams, now owned by Boohoo, saw a 46% jump in web traffic compared to last year, as well as places like Moonpig, who saw a 48% increase in traffic. Sephora, a primarily American brand who have only recently launched in the UK saw a 132% increase in web traffic in the UK, mainly due to the fact they were relatively new in the UK this time last year.

What can you do to prepare for sale shopping?

It’s clear that Black Friday has somewhat lost some of its in-store charm; long gone are the hordes of swarming shoppers, instead they are now online and looking for the best bang for their buck.

Now, more than ever, it’s about standing out. With Black Friday sales stretching from late October to early December, retailers need to be able to tailor themselves to be ready for the holiday sales period, whether Black Friday or Boxing Day.

1. Don’t be afraid to jump the gun

Prepare and don’t be afraid to jump the gun – not only is November an exemplary month for consumer spending, but it also makes up a significant amount of the spending throughout the year. In 2022, British retailers spent 16% of their annual ad spend within November, compared to 7.3% spent in September according to data from Juni.


This year we have seen many online retailers pushing their Black Friday sales into early November, with pre-Black Friday Deals, Cyber Monday early-bird specials and more. The more flexibility you give yourself with your Ads campaigns, the better you’ll be able to adapt during the turbulence in this period.

2. It’s all about FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out!)

This is the psychological crux of the Black Friday Deal. Phrases such as “It’s only now”, “it might sell out”, “while stocks last” or “this is the lowest price for 35 years!” No matter who it is or what they are selling, advertisers are building FOMO into their campaigns, so consider using it too.

It’s important to always consider your consumer, think of creative ways to ensure you are conveying the FOMO tailored to your consumer personas.

Stores, Sites and Black Friday Sales – Why Black Friday might not be plain Sale-ing.

Quite the bold FOMO statement 2 weeks before Black Friday from Vision Express

Stores, Sites and Black Friday Sales – Why Black Friday might not be plain Sale-ing.

Sweaty Betty used LAST CHANCE and LET’S GO throughout their Black Friday Sales. The gift card is an additional touch to their promotional messaging.

Think about your Post-Click experience

Your ad has worked, it’s attracted someone to your business, and they are interested in your offer, so a loss here is not only frustrating, but also costly to your business.

Make sure you pay attention to your conversion rates and consider them when making marketing decisions. Improving your payment options like Buy Now, Pay Later, your landing pages and other surrounding post-click elements could have a significant impact on your conversion rate and in turn, the Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) of your campaigns.

Moving forward there’s two huge opportunities that businesses have utilised more this Black Friday season and we’re sure they’ll continue to be a success over the next year:

  • Buy Now, Pay Later – This was used 15.8% more this year than last making up nearly 13.8% of the total online spend on Black Friday according to Adobe Analytics.
  • Offer a range of delivery options – Click and Collect usage was up 1% this year, showing that shoppers want choice, and a range of budget options.

We can help you sail through sales

We work with a huge variety of businesses to help them manage their Black Friday and other sale campaigns throughout the year to deliver optimum returns. Why not get in touch to see how we can help you?

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