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Conversion Rate Optimisation Article

2 December 2016

Black Friday arrived with a bang in 2014 and, three years on, it’s still a shopping phenomenon nationwide. But how did Black Friday 2016 compare to last year? Did predictions circulating before the day come to fruition or did consumers buck the trend?

We’ve rounded up the key facts, stats and figures to shed more light on what exactly happened amid the rush!

Monetate reported on a number of key Black Friday 2016 ecommerce metrics finding that, in the UK, when compared to Black Friday 2015:

  • Bounce rate was 24.1%, up 5% year on year, although 1% lower year on year on desktop and iOS devices.
  • Add to cart rate was 16.52%, up 17% year on year
  • Conversion rate was 4.91%, down 18% year on year, with device specific metrics ranging from 3.33% on Android devices to 6.04% on desktop
  • Cart abandonment rate was 70.28%, up 14% year on year, with device specific metrics ranging from 65% on desktop and tablet to 77% on smartphones
  • Average order value was $170.98, down 2.39% year on year, although it was 1% higher year on year on desktop and mobile devices

A number of sources reported an increase in the number of online visitors looking to bag a bargain in the early hours as the Black Friday sales commenced at midnight:

Ecommerce consultancy, Salmon found that between midnight and 9am, 75% of traffic came via mobile devices. A figure that dropped to 53% between 9am and midday, presumably as consumers arrived at work and switched to desktops.

Formisimo collated an interesting bunch of stats about checkout conversion. Of particular note are the findings that:

  • Black Friday 2016 brought an 84% increase in traffic to checkout pages compared to a ‘normal Friday’. Although, this figure was 14% less than Black Friday 2015
  • Despite this, checkout conversion rate on Black Friday 2016 was 10.3% higher than a ‘normal Friday’ and even higher than Black Friday 2015 – believed to be as a result of poor desktop performance in 2015

EmailOctopus reviewed 988 different ecommerce emails which were sent on Black Friday and found that very few ecommerce sites opted out of using Black Friday in their communications, with the notable exception of Apple who used the subject line “Our shopping event is on”.

Two key features of previous Black Friday news stories were notably absent this year:

  1. Technical glitches dampening online shoppers’ spirits. Unlike previous years, and despite the increased number of visitors, far fewer sites suffered technical issues. Online retailers have clearly learned from Black Fridays gone by, taken extra precautions and undertaken more rigorous testing in preparation. This, coupled with the fact some stores stretched ‘Black Friday’ all over the weekend, if not longer, has clearly helped to spread the load.
  2. Horror stories of scrambles, feuds and fights in high street stores. While bargain hunters were busy navigating their way around online stores in the wee hours of the morning, they deserted the high street in droves. UK ShopperTrak reported a 8.05% fall in UK National Black Friday footfall year on year.

But did it all translate into sales and revenue?

The data is still pouring in, but initial commentary suggests that, although they may not have reached the dizzy heights predicted - perhaps because it fell before national payday? Or because retailers stretched deals over longer time periods? – Black Friday sales were up year on year.

  • PCA Predict data shows 8,136,130 transactions were made on Black Friday this year. Up 6.7% year on year and a whopping 238% more than the same day in 2013 before Black Friday hit our shores (and our stores!).
  • IMRG estimates that total spend on online retail sites on Black Friday 2016 was £1.23bn. Up +12.2% from Black Friday 2015 although almost a quarter lower than the original forecast growth of +16% believed to be held back by a lower than expected conversion rate.
  • IBM reported that globally, retailers saw online sales increase 28% on Black Friday
  • Barclaycard transactions were 6% higher than last year's Black Friday and TopCashback reported a 43% increase in spending over last year. (As reported by the BBC)
  • Nationwide Building Society reported that its customers spent £33.9m between midnight and 10am, up 57 per cent on a normal Friday. (As reported by the Independent)
  • John Lewis reported their ‘biggest-ever day on Black Friday’ taking five orders every second on johnlewis.com during their busiest time and The Hut Group reported a year on year sales growth of 95% on Black Friday (As reported by Internet Retailing)
  • American clothing company Patagonia, who announced that they were giving 100% of global Black Friday sales to charity, saw record-breaking sales of $10m – 5 times more than they expected.

What did you see?

This digest talks about country-wide trends. But what did your numbers look like? Did they conform to national trends or did your trends go against the grain? We’d love to hear from you, leave a comment below sharing your findings.

Posted in: E-commerce