With the holiday season fast approaching and Black Friday just over a week away, it’s no surprise that your promotions inbox is filling up with deals and offers and growing at an exponential rate.
However, this year you may have noticed that these deals have started coming in a bit earlier than usual and you may have also found yourself more comfortable with the idea of purchasing online.
Of course, online shopping is nothing new, but a trend we have seen over the past months is a radical, and perhaps permanent, switch from in-store to online shopping.
The COVID-19 pandemic seems to have accelerated this phenomenon thanks to the introduction of social distancing rules and safety measures, as well as the sudden and intermittent closure of physical stores.
And whilst the e-commerce market in the UK has been constantly expanding for the past decade, the year 2020 has definitely seen a dramatic increase in online sales, and the figure is only expected to grow. The graph below shows the value of online retail sales (in billions) in the UK from 2012 to 2020.
So with the e-commerce industry on the rise and another national lockdown currently taking place in the UK, what are the possible effects of COVID-19 on Black Friday and the online retail landscape in general?
1. November 2020 will be a record-breaking month for the UK online retail sector
According to a recent industry report by IMRG, online sales were up by 61% in the first week of November, compared to the previous year.
This sets extremely high hopes for online retailers, who expect sales coming from digital channels to surge and this Black Friday to be the biggest ever.
2. Black Friday deals will start earlier and last longer than usual
Some have talked about Black Friday being replaced by ‘Cyber November’. This term is to indicate what we’ve witnessed so far this month; a constant and persistent flow of deals reaching consumers across all marketing platforms and from the very early days of the month.
We’ve seen Amazon setting the standard with the launch of its deals a whole month ahead of the big day.
Other retailers such as Debenhams, Very and Currys PC World have followed, in a move to secure sales and revenue.
3. Delays in deliveries are to be expected
The shopping madness typical of the holiday season often comes with slower deliveries and customer service issues.
This year’s Black Friday and its unprecedented popularity, boosted by the current national lockdown and closure of non-essential shops, will most likely disrupt the delivery system and cause delays.
According to technology firm Metapack, which works with major UK brands allowing them to find delivery slots within a network of around 400 carriers, delivery companies are already experiencing an increase in demand, and last week parcel delivery volumes were 43% higher than the previous year.
It’s without a doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has shaken the world and changed the way we live our lives, probably forever.
Consumer purchasing behaviours have changed and businesses have adapted to meet the new consumers’ demand and needs.
This year’s Black Friday is set to be the biggest ever but with great opportunities also come great challenges so make sure you are fully prepared to tackle any possible issues that may arise.