UK Black Friday transactions jump 12.5pc versus 2018, says Barclaycard

People walk past a sign advertising Black Friday offers in the window of a Blacks outdoor clothing store in Manchester, Britain November 22 2019. — Reuters pic
People walk past a sign advertising Black Friday offers in the window of a Blacks outdoor clothing store in Manchester, Britain November 22 2019. — Reuters pic

LONDON, Nov 29 — The volume of Black Friday payment transactions in Britain as of 1000 GMT was up 12.5 per cent versus last year, initial data from Barclaycard showed today, bringing some cheer to UK retailers in need of a tonic after a troubled year.

Barclaycard, which processes nearly one pound (US$1.28) in every three pounds spent in the United Kingdom, said its data showed transactions had also been strong throughout the week of Black Friday.

“With many retailers spreading their deals out throughout the week, they will be encouraged to see this hasn’t cannibalised sales volumes on Black Friday itself,” it said.

The firm did not give a figure for the year-on-year movement of the value of sales. Last year transactions increased 10 per cent versus 2017.

With recent UK consumer spending subdued, Brexit still unresolved and a Dec. 12 national election creating new uncertainties, retailers have been hoping for a boost from Black Friday discount events that were first brought over from the United States by Amazon in 2010.

Analysts have suggested Black Friday sales could be helped this year by its fall on the last Friday of the month, which coincides with payday for many.

Dixons Carphone’s Carphone Warehouse business said it had seen three orders per second on its website since its Black Friday sales went live at 2100 GMT yesterday. It said the Apple iPhone 11, Apple iPhone XR, and Samsung Galaxy S10 were the most popular products so far.

The group’s Currys PC World business, Britain’s largest electricals retailer, said top selling products so far were Apple Airpods, the Xbox One S and the Galaxy Tab A 10.1 tablet.

Department store group John Lewis said the busiest shopping hour online between midnight yesterday and midday today was between 0900 GMT and 1000 GMT. The most popular searched for products were Lego, iPads and Airpods.

With harsh lessons learnt from past Black Fridays, British retailers are stretching promotions over several weeks, aiming to smooth out consumer demand and reduce the pressure on supply and distribution networks.

US consumers splurged more than US$2 billion online in the first hours of Thanksgiving shopping yesterday, while crowds were limited at retailers on the eve of Black Friday, reflecting the broader trend away from shopping at brick-and-mortar stores. — Reuters

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