As we live in a constant state of uncertainty, with never-ending Brexit negotiations and a pandemic changing the world as we know it, the UK is officially in a recession for the first time in eleven years. Even so, with the year’s biggest shopping season around the corner, PriceRunner predicts that the value of online sales on Black Friday will increase by 14% in the UK this year.
In a highly unpredictable present and future, forecasting how much UK consumers will spend on the Black Friday sales is not the easiest feat. In 2019, total retail spending during Black Friday was forecast to reach 8.6 billion*. Mikael Lindahl, Head of Growth at PriceRunner, predicts a large growth in online sales this year:
“We expect the total value of online and offline sales on Black Friday to be flat this year compared to last year. This means that online sales will grow by 14% and offline fall by 12%. This is mainly driven by a weaker economy, higher unemployment rates and social restrictions causing lower consumption overall, with a higher concentration of online spending during the Black Friday week. This year it will be more important than ever to make savings on Christmas presents, household products and more, where the Black Friday sale is a good time to do just that.”
During the many months of lockdown in the UK, online retail sales surged with shops forced to close and people ordered to stay indoors. According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the total volume of retail sales in April fell by 18.1% in the UK while online sales grew by 30.7%**.
As the pandemic continued, online spending increased by 33.4% in May, with signs of slightly declining online sales from June and July as some shops and restaurants reopened. However, the strong growth experienced over the pandemic has mean that the value of online retail sales was still 46.8% higher in August than February’s pre-pandemic levels.
A shift in behaviour shaping consumer habits beyond 2020
During the many months of lockdown, shops closed around the UK and people were stuck inside, forcing us to form new habits and ways to go about our daily lives. Commenting on how the pandemic has shaped online retail, Mikael Lindahl said:
“We have seen a shift in consumer habits as a result of the pandemic, with more people shopping online than ever before, including older generations buying products online for the very first time, causing a drop in visits to brick and mortar shops. We believe this trend is here to stay and will continue far beyond the pandemic, as this has evolved and shaped our industry many years ahead of time. “
What will the most popular product on Black Friday be this year?
Analysing PriceRunner’s own data, the most popular Black Friday item among UK consumers in 2019 was the Apple AirPods with a wireless charging case, overtaking the slightly older model without wireless charging capabilities claiming second place. This might not come as a great surprise as the wireless AirPods were released the month before Black Friday last year.
The most popular product category in the UK during Black Friday in both 2018 and 2019 was televisions, with an increase in searches by 121% during the Black Friday period where the most popular tv last year was the LG 50UM7500. Looking ahead at Black Friday 2020, Mikael Lindahl predicts that the most popular product categories of 2020 will be in home technology:
“With many of us working from home, unable to visit friends and family during the Christmas holidays due to restrictions set out by the Government, we predict that home tech such as quality web cameras, mesh routers for better internet connection and televisions will be very popular this year. Being able to connect with loved ones from afar, having a good connection for online meetings or watching our favourite Christmas films will shape many wish lists”.
These were the most popular products and product categories from the Black Friday sales last year:
Top 10 most popular product categories during Black Friday 2019
- Headphones & Gaming Headsets
- Mobile Phones
- Vacuum Cleaners
- Game Consoles
- Tumble Dryers
- Washing Machines
Top 10 most popular products during Black Friday 2019
- Apple AirPods with Wireless Charging Case (2019)
- Samsung Galaxy S10e 128GB
- Apple AirPods with Charging Case (2019)
- LG 50UM7500
- Bose QuietComfort 35 2
- Sony WH-1000XM3
- LG 55SM8500
- Apple iPhone XR 64GB
- Dyson V8 Absolute
- LG OLED55C9
To find out more about the Black Friday sales, browse between the latest deals or read our expert product reviews, please visit Pricerunner.com.