4 mins

Navigating Black Friday: Retailers Response to Black Friday 2023

As the dust settles on another Black Friday, the numbers are in, and the data provides an interesting snapshot of the digital shopping landscape.

Given the prevailing economic conditions, it comes as no surprise that Black Friday 2023 UK online traffic experienced a 12% year-over-year decline as indicated by data intelligence platform SimilarWeb and reported by Retail Gazette. The US fared much better where shopper turnout across websites and stores hit an all-time high of 200.4 million over the five-day weekend from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday, according to a survey by the National Retail Federation. On Cyber Monday, ecommerce spending in the U.S. totalled $12.4 billion, according to Adobe, up 9.6% year over year. 

Black Friday 2023 has posed opportunities as well as challenges for retailers navigating the complex landscape of modern consumerism.   

Let's look at three strategies retailers are adopting to optimise and create unique value propositions during peak shopping events.

1. eCommerce Optimisation:

In response to the persistent rise of online shopping, retailers are doubling down on optimising their ecommerce platforms. Fast-loading websites, intuitive user interfaces, and mobile-friendly designs have become the norm. Many retailers are also investing heavily in enhancing their digital infrastructure to accommodate any surge in online traffic. This is a wise investment considering the demand on systems, the Loqate platform alone handled a staggering peak of 343 million platform request volumes during the 24-hour Black Friday period.

2. Extended Sale Periods:

Recognising the changing dynamics of consumer behaviour, retailers have stretched the Black Friday sales window. Instead of confining discounts to a single day, "Black Friday" has become more of a month-long affair, offering deals early and extending promotions well beyond the traditional timeframe. At Loqate we have spoken to clients who started promotions in early November and if some retailers repeat their 2022 promotions, we will see further pre-Christmas sales events for popular brands, including Marks & Spencer, AMEX and IKEA.

According to CNBC, early shopping strength may indicate a quest for deals, not just a willingness to spend, benefiting these brands. It suggests a return to pre-pandemic holiday shopping patterns, with peak spending during events like Black Friday and the days before Christmas.

3. Green Friday

This year it was great to see a growing number of retailers challenging the shopping frenzy by opting out of Black Friday promotions in favour of a more sustainable approach. Trainer brand Veja, announced that instead of discounts, it will be offering customers a free sneaker repair. The North Face, offered a 30% discount on all its recycled and sustainable products. And once again, Patagonia decided to donate 100% of its Black Friday sales to environmental causes.  

For many retailers, the decision to skip Black Friday is a strategic one aimed at reducing the environmental toll associated with mass consumption.

In conclusion, as we reflect on the aftermath of Black Friday 2023, the data unveils a nuanced perspective on the digital shopping landscape. Retailers are strategically navigating this complex landscape by adopting strategies to optimise not only the Black Friday period but also the subsequent shopping landscape.

Stay tuned for our in-depth look at Black Friday 2023 and a look behind the scenes at how Loqate responded to the year's biggest sales event.