Black Friday and Cyber Monday Conversion Rise may Bite Back at Merchants

Ingenico ePayments today disclosed exclusive data from its global payment network showing that:

  • In 2016, the UK’s total online retail spend on Black Friday was 330% higher than a typical Friday, while Cyber Monday was 232% higher than a typical Monday.
  • Compared to total online retail spending for typical Fridays, US consumers together spent 167% more on Black Friday, while Cyber Monday spending was a colossal 342% higher than a typical Monday.

Huge spending on these days confirms that consumers on both sides of the Atlantic are saving the seasonal spending splurges for this sales period.

Ingenico ePayments data also revealed that customers were far more likely to complete purchases online on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, compared to a typical day. In the UK, shopping cart abandonment was over a third lower on the Black Friday weekend, while in the US abandonment almost halved on Black Friday weekend, compared to a normal day online.

This trend was also evident in Europe: payment abandonment was down 15% in Germany and down two-thirds in the Netherlands, compared to typical daily rates for the rest of the year.

However, in Spain, which saw Black Friday online retail spend rise dramatically, abandonment rose by two-thirds, compared to average decline rates for the rest of the year, suggesting the country is beginning to embrace the traditionally US-centric sales day, although consumers are still wary online.

David Jimenez, Chief Revenue Officer at Ingenico ePayments, said: “The Black Friday weekend continues to grow online, which is great news for ecommerce retailers. Customers still appear to be receptive to Black Friday sales, shown by the increases compared to other days throughout the year. The fear of missing out on countdown deals online means customers are keen to complete the payment process as soon as possible to avoid missing out on their reduced item.

While higher conversion is the holy grail for retailers, the danger here is that customers will suffer from buyer’s remorse, changing their mind and returning goods. Mid-December is one of the busiest times for returns: by mid-December last year, 50% of refunds from Black Friday had been processed, with 75% processed by Christmas Eve. This ties up the retailer’s stock in the return process, instead of having it available to online customers before Christmas. We increasingly see our merchants turning to us as they plan to manage returns, which we believe has now become as vital as the sales themselves.”

Intense advertising and marketing promotion of huge sales creates desperate demand within some consumer groups, even where genuine savings are very minor. Online merchants considering a 2017 Black Friday discount campaign should consider both the risks and the opportunities in front of them.

Author: Dylan Jones

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