Media Planning Notes: Black Friday (27th November 2015)

Black Friday, 2014

With 11% of internet users saying they bought gifts on Black Friday the retail sectors showing biggest proportional increase in Nov’s share of annual sales were ‘Mixed Retail’ (including Dept stores) & Electrical Retail (increased by 1.3% points or £80m).

The general view amongst retailers is negative towards Black Friday – it brought forward sales that would have happened anyway and severely impacted on profit margins. It is nevertheless now considered as an influential date in the retail calendar. (Source: Mintel Retail Briefing)

News UK Black Friday Study - Project Footprint: Online behaviour

We studied the complete digital behaviour of a group of Times readers, across all their devices over the month of November 2014, leading up to Black Friday (November 28th).

The study generated a mass of data - over 3,000 interactions with The Times, 44,000 interactions with search engines and generated over 1.2million interactions with the Web. We also captured their word of mouth conversations over the same period. This analysis demonstrated the role of The Times in fuelling excitement around Black Friday.

  • 94% of all page views related to Black Friday happened between November 24th-28th when newspaper coverage was at its peak.
  • This equated to each person visiting an average of 10 different retail-based pages.
  • On average, this level of interest led to readers each talking about 4-5 different retailers over this period
  • Times digital users significantly more likely than the average web user to be visiting:

Times Brands

  • 13% more time spent per person on retail sites across the web in November than October
  • Share of all page views in month that occurred across 24th-28th November per site (from Footprint):
    1. Argos 21%
    2. Amazon 18%
    3. John Lewis 15%
    4. Marks & Spencer 5%


Black Friday - Word of Mouth

  • 2.5 billion WOM impressions for retail brands in November 2014.
  • Over 100 million conversations which directly referenced newspaper content
  • The last 2 weeks of November saw a peak in conversations about retailers in the UK:
    1. 25% more brand impressions vs. the yearly average
    2. +38% among newspaper readers
  • w/e Nov 23 the peak week: discussions building up ahead of Black Friday

  • Stores with particularly high levels of talk that week:
    1. Waitrose (+133% over yearly average)
    2. M&S (+44%)
    3. Next (+78%)
    4. Selfridges (+203%)
  • Newspaper readers averaged 12% more WOM about retailers during 2014, and 13% more on the Black Friday weekend

mintel Argos (Mintel analyst’s view)

  • On Black Friday alone “sales at Argos were up by 45%, while at the same time, it received over 13.5 million visitors to its digital channels, three times last year’s visitors”.  But then Argos goes on to say “In anticipation of volatility in trading patterns and the profit pressure caused by aggressive promotions, Argos pursued a more cautious trading stance over the period” and overall like-for-like sales were flat for the period. 
  • Argos seems to be saying that Black Friday was not worthwhile in terms of profitability.
  • The frenzy wasn’t always good for consumers either. As one ‘Footprint’ participant said:

    “I talked (to a friend) about how badly Argos had coped with Black Friday - I wanted to reserve an item online but the website kept crashing.”