European retailers revamped Black Friday

29 November

Black Friday eclipsed Cyber Monday; France and Spain lead the pack!

Europeans don't celebrate Thanksgiving, nor are they off the day after, but merchants succeeded in creating a brand new holiday sale in Europe from scratch. They surprisingly managed to seize the opportunity of this new holiday sale with the promise of offering a new customer experience.

Now let's drill down on France, Spain, Italy and Poland.

It's a fact: in spite of the absence of cultural roots, Black Friday is being "Europeanized" and interest continues to grow all over Europe since 2014. Among the 300 merchants surveyed* in 2017, 17% of merchants included Black Friday in their seasonal calendar in 2014, 30% in 2015 and 50% in 2016. A trend that concerns all brands, 62% of retailers, 31% pure players and 7% brick and mortar. In the top 5 sectors, we have 34% Ready-to-wear, 10% service and tourism, cosmetics and welfare with 8%.

European merchants revamped Black Friday and transformed it into a weekend or even into a whole week of online and offline sales. Black Friday mentions in their marketing campaigns eclipse Cyber Monday with 88% versus 12%. With 31% of online merchants using Black Friday as a sales tactic, this demonstrates the digitalization of the originally physical store day event.

Marketing campaigns clearly aimed at generating both online & in store traffic with the promise of offering customers with a new experience - a different one from the big Sales period coming up in early 2018. Campaigns started at top speed as of the 20th of November, one week before Black Friday, and got good open rates, around 27%, showing consumer appetite for this event.

Desktop is king but mobile is still increasing in France (57%) and in Italy (193%) since 2014. We also see a big growth of SMS communications - 300% since 2014, a channel usually used for loyalty and building proximity with customers.

Has Europe experienced Black Friday the same way? France and Spain lead the pack! Their merchants were very enthusiastic and communicated substantially about Black Friday, whereas Poland is still getting familiar with the concept, and Italy was below expectations because of the contrast between their communications and low sales due to strikes.

Quickly growing from a one-day event to a week-long celebration, Black Friday is a fast track to omnicommerce transition. Orchestrating online and offline campaigns is a real business opportunity for merchants to increase traffic both online and in store. In the future it could be a business reality by offering personalized shopping experiences to further increase sales. Enthusiasm from French merchants has already been validated by consumer purchases, if we believe the recent Fevad estimations in France.

The month of November can then be a great time to roll out your brand strategy and offer new buying journeys. An approach that some brands have already embraced, and that consumers have validated. It is a great opportunity to combine the shopping experience and brand discovery : delight your customer base with private sales, acquire new customers with Black Friday and Cyber Monday to reduce stocks. All, while tuning into social networks.

In other words, Black Friday is here to stay with all its European particularities : Black Friday is digital, it lasts 8 days, it is omnichannel and kicks off the holiday season with a bang!

Check out our infographics for more info!

*Splio surveyed 300 of its marketing platform clients in Europe in November 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017