What will the Black Friday sales look like this year?

This week’s question is “What will the Black Friday sales look like this year? Will they reach last year’s level – by far its best performance, an increase of 30%, will they be higher or perhaps lower?”

eCommerce has grown organically throughout 2020 in an accelerated manner

Throughout the year several reports forecasted an increase in the total number of online sales and their cumulated value. Some internet users dared to make their first ever online purchase, others expanded the range of products they bought online and decided it was no longer worthwhile to go to the hypermarket for their basic shopping needs or those that found themselves wanting office items to use at home – laptops, office chairs, printing machines, home & deco. The platforms that offer solutions for online retailers also reported an increase in activity this year – more clients needed an online interface to sell their products, there was an increase in online purchases on the sites that they manage (source: press articles MerchantPro, 2Performant).

INSSE statistics show major increases in online sales starting with April 2020, with a 75.7% growth compared to the same month of 2019, and ending with September 2020 with a 44% increase compared to 2019.

The Romanian Association of Online Shops (ARMO) states that Romanian e-commerce will reach this year € 5.5 billion turnover, a 30% increase compared with last year, but offer no estimation for 2020’s Black Friday.

There have been several sales periods throughout the year with no particular reason or occasion, only as a marketing and sales strategy employed by online retailers to recoup losses from the lockdown period and, perhaps, to maintain notoriety and loyalty on the backdrop of the boost un number of online shops as more and more retailers are adapting to an online environment.

People aged 34 or less and those with a monthly income of at least 3000 lei could be the engine behind the 2020 Black Friday purchases, shows a study carried out by Wisemetry Research between October 30th and November 4th 2020.

"It’s certain that the most important products this year will be the same as before (electronics, home appliances, IT&C, home & deco, fashion, beauty), but I expect online retailers to employ a strategy showcasing predominately low value items. And that is a good thing, as 31% of those intending to make a purchase on Black Friday, urban dwellers and internet users, will most likely make an on-the-spot decision – will check the sales only on Black Friday and buy whatever catches their eye. That explains the success of the frying pans eMAG sold in 2019, ending up in the top of all items sold. Large items or those that require a significant investment are sought after by 26% of those intending to make a purchase this Black Friday – “I wanted to buy several products throughout the year, but I waited out for Black Friday on purpose”. Most likely this category will raise the value of the shopping cart. The rest of the potential Black Friday shoppers (43%) start prepping for shopping the day before – they think about what exactly they need and then start searching. Will it be products that they need, or products that require replacing?” says Violeta Bahaciu, Senior Research Consultant at Wisemetry Research, based on the results of the study carried out by Wisemetry Research.

I wouldn't be surprised if that special trip, which you have dreamed of for years and are ready to gift to yourself as a well-deserved reward at least once in a lifetime ends up being bought, restrictions and financial uncertainty notwithstanding. Maybe not this Black Friday, but travel companies should not neglect them from their strategy for 2020. There will be a lot of spontaneous decision making. And since saving will prove trying for the following 12 months, who knows?” continues Violeta Bahaciu.

The great performance of the 2019 Black Friday as compared to the 2018 one is also due to the increased wages. Today, only the retirees enjoy higher purchasing power as compared to 2019.

The study conducted by Wisemetry Research shows a higher intent for saving – 42% of urban dwellers, internet users, state they wish to increase the amount of money they save during the following year.

INSSE does not show any drop in the average net income but reports an increase of 1.1 percentage points in unemployment for September 2020 compared to September 2019. Data also show which industries were or are impacted by the pandemic crisis (hospitality, tourism, fuel, and retail). “Uncertainty is high. The only category who experienced an increase in their income for the second half of the year were the retirees, yet most of them are not internet users, nor did they manage to save any money ... they are getting ready for winter. I expect, however, an increase in value for Black Friday of 10-15% as compared to 2019” concludes Violeta Bahaciu.

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