The 2019 edition of Black Friday topped Cyber Monday as the busiest day for online shopping over the holiday season. An estimated 93.2 million shoppers went online on Friday, as compared to 83.3 million on Monday.

Following the general trend, American customers preferred to do their shopping online this holiday season. Analytics show that online retail sales hit an astounding $7.4 billion in the US, a 19.3% increase over last year’s edition. Brick-and-mortar store visits fell by over 3%, while in-store sales numbers fell by 6.3% this year.

Number of shoppers (in millions) during the Thanksgiving weekend in the US in 2019

Surprising trend in the UK

However, in what came as a shock to many, in-store sales in the UK rose sharply this year. Barclaycard, which processes about £1 of every £3 spent in the UK, said it was an “outstanding” Black Friday compared to last year. Statistics released by the credit card company show that sales increased by 12.5%, and transaction value went up 16.5% from last year with volume of transactions up 7.2%.

UK Retailers like Boohoo and John Lewis enjoyed boosted sales figures of up to 9.5% over the ten days leading up to the event, mostly attributed to huge Black Friday deals and promotions. Love the Sales estimated a 6% increase in the number of UK companies that promoted their Black Friday sales over 2018. Over 49% of all goods went on sale, with the average discount rate hovering at 32% (about the same as last year). While final numbers are still unclear, total sales across retail and online stores in the UK are predicted to hit £5.6 billion according to Finder.

Top selling products

Little Outrageous Little (L.O.L) Surprise toys, Frozen 2 toys, FIFA 20, Madden 20, and the Nintendo Switch were the top selling individual products this year. Adobe figures also indicate that the percentage changes in digital price index (change in prices measurable by the customer) for televisions, computers and toys were -17%, -18%, and -14% respectively on Black Friday.

Toys and games were the most popular products at the Black Friday 2019 sales

Mobile gets maximum traffic, but desktop gets maximum sales

The rapid expansion of the smartphone industry and market has propelled customers to utilise their mobile devices for their online shopping needs. According to statistics by Adobe Analytics, over 58% of traffic to most online retailers was through smartphones, a 7% increase from last year’s estimate. Desktops and tablets followed at 38% and 4% respectively.

However, Adobe also claimed that over 60% of online customers made their final purchases on their desktops as compared to 36% on their smartphones. It may be inferred that customers prefer to use their mobile devices as browsing tools to check out the deals and bargains offered.

A bit of good luck

Since Black Friday marks the onset of the festive season, Christmas shoppers thronged both online and offline stores in search of good deals, and retailers took full advantage of the momentum by promoting deals over the weekend post the big sale. This year, Black Friday also (rather conveniently) coincided with the day when most office-goers in the UK received their last paychecks before the Christmas holidays.

The sale this season also saw the participation of smaller, relatively new companies like Gandys London, which notably donated 10% of its earnings to establishing kids campuses in developing countries like Nepal, Brazil, Malawi and Sri Lanka. It’s all about spreading Christmas cheer this season!

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