Will UK ecommerce hit £1bn on Black Friday?

Following the impact of Black Friday 2014 and the surge in sales it caused for the UK’s online retailers, global digital commerce consultancy Salmon has predicted that Black Friday 2015 (27 November) will lead to the UK’s first £1 billion online shopping day.

The report, from digital commerce consultancy Salmon, forecast that online orders on Black Friday will grow 17.6 per cent compared with last year, resulting in a £150 million sales uplift and breaking the £1 billion online sales barrier for the first time.

According to its research, the milestone will be driven by a combination of the growth of online shopping overall, and an increased awareness of Black Friday and the deals available.

Retailers are being warned that they need to be prepared for the likely surge in sales. Over the course of last year’s Black Friday online orders increased 44 per cent compared with a normal trading day, resulting in total online sales of £850 million.

In 2014, whilst retailers anticipated a spike on the peak trading days, they weren’t ready for this new phenomenon. The media focus on activity also drove customers online, putting a major strain on retailers’ online operations, particularly Black Friday morning, when bargain hunters searched online for deals, which resulted in issues such as: site outages, slow browsing (traffic overload led to degradation in site loading times and negative social media coverage for retailers who failed to deliver) and queueing, where several sites implemented a holding page, which led to frustrated buyers abandoning sites.

Retailers need to think about how to plan for the increased traffic, how different channels can help manage the customer experience and ensure that customers are content with their service. It’s critical that online and instore work together to ensure this.

It’s likely that services like and collect could play an important role bringing digital and brick and mortar together, and therefore retailers need to ensure that they keep the front and back ends aligned to create a seamless experience on the day.