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Black Friday Trends Hint at a Season of Change for Retail

Everything you need to know about the 2019 holiday season as new trends emerge and Black Friday sales unfold.

Thanksgiving and Black Friday at a Glance

  • The U.S. spent $7.4 billion via online retail for Black Friday 2019, raising the year-on-year digital growth for the period to 43 percent.
  •  L.O.L. Suprise Dolls and "Frozen 2" toys were the top selling products of Black Friday in U.S.
  • Stores in the U.K. remain quiet on Black Friday with British consumers forecast to drive £2.3 billion in online sales.

A Digital Future for Black Friday

Between Nov. 1 – Nov. 30, Adobe Analytics reports that $98.8 billion has already been spent online during the holiday season (running Nov. 1 - Dec. 31).

This update, taken from Adobe’s link to transactions across 80 of the top U.S. retailers, is on its way to surpass the $143.8 billion online prediction for the season; up 14.1 percent over 2018’s $128 billion sales total.

Adobe Analytics forecasts that the U.S. is moving to online deals rather than in-store, with $7.4 billion being spent online during Black Friday. Cyber Monday itself (Dec. 2) is also due to be the first $9.4 billion day in ecommerce history.

Put simply, every day across Nov. and Dec. is due to significantly surpass $1 billion in online sales according to Adobe.

The consumer trends have already emerged too, with the most popular items online taking the form of "Just Dance 2020"; "Frozen 2" licensed products; L.O.L. Surprise Dolls; Samsung TVs; and Instapots. On Veterans Day (Nov. 11) the top products also included "Fortnite" toys, "Pokémon Sword & Shield", Pikmi Pops and L.O.L. Surprise! Dolls.

Big Stores Go Digital as Americans Avoid the Chaos

Best Buy, Walmart and Costco increased their online presence significantly to build on the growing trend of online Black Friday shoppers and bolster retail revenue.

“Millions of customers joined us online and in stores across the country for our Black Friday event,” says Steve Bratspies, executive vice president, chief merchandising officer, Walmart U.S. in a company statement. “Our most popular deals included our great assortment of TVs from brands like Samsung, and Philips, 'Ryan’s World' and 'Frozen' toys, and Apple Airpods.”

Finder.com stated 86% of Americans were planning to participate in pre-Christmas sales such as Black Friday. The NRF estimates 165 million people will take to stores. However, on Thanksgiving Day CNBC noted how crowds were untraditionally thin due to a longer holiday spending period and earlier sales across Nov. The statistics from Adobe report that in-store sales are up 4 percent on 2018.

The U.K. Struggles to Adopt Black Friday

In the U.K., major shopping hubs – like Oxford Circus or Manchester’s Trafford Center – were silent as consumers traded the early morning queues for the comfort of their homes, even with retailers slashing prices up to 80 percent to draw in buyers according to the Daily Mail. A trend broken by only a handful of stores, including JD Sports who welcomed thousands of buyers in London.

PwC predicts that 77 percent of British buyers are in fact saving their energy for online sales to emerge, with an expected £2.3 billion coming from digital checkouts in the U.K of a £5.6 billion total for the retail weekend.

The total U.K. spend across both retail and online is due to run to around £5.6 billion according to Finder, down significantly from 2018’s £7 billion result. Ecommerce assistance site Topcashback.com has already reported a 32 percent rise in online sales deals through its services as of 9AM GMT Nov. 29 with plenty of daylight left before Black Friday closes in the U.K.

We’ll be updating this article with more coverage of Cyber Monday, so stay up to speed on License Global.

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