Spark Emotions Black Friday 2020

What happened during Black Friday 2020 in the UK

Black Friday has been a polarising event in the UK over years gone by. Our November Mood of the Nation study told us that over half of UK adults were not interested in Black Friday. We produce our Mood of the Nation report on a monthly basis to truly understand how people are really feeling about the month ahead and we drill down into some of the key moments, click here for more articles.

Understanding how to effectively drive trade at key moments has been a challenge retail businesses have had for years. Every retailer will have numerous times during the calendar year when their sales increase or drop, understanding why this is and how to capitalise or minimise the impact is crucial to building a successful business, Black Friday is no different.

In this article, we review what happened during Black Friday this year and explain what your business can do to outperform the market next year.

How the UK felt about Black Friday

When we drilled down into how people really felt about Black Friday, using our Spark Emotional Wheel to quantify their emotions, we found that they felt Apathetic towards the event. As you can see in the picture below, the UK has a negative outlook on the event, with Black Friday being further away from the ideal score than Halloween, Bonfire Night or November in general. We found that Black Friday scored low for happiness, excitement and control. With 2020 being a year where people have felt more out of control than ever, a lower feeling of control for Black Friday no doubt contributed to why 57% of people were not interested in it.

Spark Emotional Wheel - Quantifying the emotions of how people feel about Black Friday in the UK
Spark Emotional Wheel – Quantifying the emotions of how people feel about Black Friday in the UK

How did Black Friday perform this year?

With a national lockdown being in place during Black Friday this year, we were expecting this to have an impact on sales with an additional shift to online. In the Guardian, Barclaycard reported that Black Friday payments fell by more than 10% this year. In a usual year, most Black Friday sales are made in-store, so stores being closed would have had a significant impact on the overall event (The Guardian).

Even though overall Black Friday sales dropped, online had a successful event according to Internet Retailing, sales online grew by 38% for the full Black Friday week in 2020, with small online businesses seeing a massive 150% sales increase. (Internet Retailing)

Clearly, a key driver to the success of online this year will have been down to physical retail being closed, it will be interesting to understand if this change will continue into 2021. If people who normally shop in stores for Black Friday had a good experience shopping online in 2020 this may become a more permanent change.

What sorts of products were bought?

Our November Mood of the Nation report told us that people were unsure of what to buy during Black Friday with lots of different categories being mentioned as a planned purchase. With this in mind, we were not expecting technology to dominate sales as is has done in previous years. Retail Week’s “Black Friday bestseller list” reported a similar story after the event, saying that they had observed a much broader range of categories being shopped, whether that is homeware, garden furniture, beauty or products to entertain children at home (Retail Week)

What does this mean for you?

Black Friday in 2021 is going to be very different again, with vaccines rolling out and the world learning how to live with COVID-19, there is a good chance we will see people buying into different categories and products as their lives and priorities would have changed. It is crucial that businesses understand their customers planned purchases in 2021, with a particular focus on their emotions, to ensure that you are able to build a customer focussed and credible product range to fulfil their needs.

At Spark Emotions, we specialise in helping our clients grow by truly understanding their customers. We are a global market research agency who combines consumer psychology and industry expertise to generate actionable insights. We are able to help you predict how your customers will be shopping in 2021 through our Trends and Foresight business unit. We can help you understand the macro effects on behaviour to help you build and optimise your trading events by designing customer-led propositions that are proven to deliver business growth.

To set up an exploratory meeting to find out how we can help you win Black Friday in 2021, please fill in our contact form and one of the team will be in touch.

Written by Jack Hillaby, Head of Business Development at Spark Emotions
If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to Jack via email or connect with him on LinkedIn


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