Black Friday Across the World & Global Success: Trends & Issues

31 August 2022

Every year Black Friday exceeds sales and revenue, it has become a global phenomenon and is one of the biggest opportunities for businesses on an international level. This year the shopping event will take place on Friday 25th November 2022.

Before launching your international Black Friday campaign, you’ll want to take into account a few considerations. For starters, even with Black Fridays’ huge scale it’s not celebrated in every country. As an example, China has its own international shopping holiday on the 11th of November; Singles Day. We take a look into the countries participating in Black Friday and the other shopping events happening around the world.

What’s happening in the countries participating in Black Friday?

US – Going back to where it all started, Black Friday refers to the day after Thanksgiving which is now considered the start of the holiday shopping season. In 2021 the US saw retail sales for the holiday period grow by 14.1% compared to the previous year to over $886.7 billion. Despite all the struggles and challenges faced by the COVID-19 pandemic with supply chain issues and inflation, this was a new record with over 154 million Americans making a purchase. Black Friday eCommerce sales accounted for $8.9 billion of the total spend which is lower than last year, mainly due to supply chain issues, which is why sales picked up in the following weeks as retailers were able to increase stock levels.

Specific sectors that had the highest increases last year were:

  • Clothing and accessories +33.1%
  • Sporting goods +20.9%
  • General merchandise +15.2%
  • Furniture and home furnishings +15%
  • Electronics and appliances +13.8%

However, the US witnessed a trend shift last year as Black Friday sales exceeded those on Cyber Monday by 23%. The year previous Cyber Monday sales were higher by 11%.

Interestingly, for the second year in a row Amazon was the biggest Black Friday retailer, taking account for 17.7% of Black Friday revenue. This isn’t surprising considering that 46.7% of all product searches begin on Amazon.

Black Friday is growing in popularity, but how is it performing in other countries around the world?

Canada – This was one of the first places outside the US that started participating in this shopping holiday, as Canadians started to travel to the US to take advantage of the discounts. It has been a success in Canada with it becoming a new tradition, however, their biggest deals are generally on Boxing Day a couple of weeks later.

UK – Black Friday kicks off the holiday shopping season in the UK, however, was impacted by the issues relating to COVID-19 last year. Online retail sales were down 14.3% in 2021 compared to the previous year, this was mainly due to the supply chain disruptions with many retailers not having sufficient stock in the lead-up. Another issue retailers are facing according to a survey conducted by Adobe, is that UK consumers are growing increasingly sceptical of Black Friday. They no longer believe they are getting the best deals with 61% surveyed sceptical about the size of the discounts on offer, and 50% saying the deals aren’t as good as they used to be.

There were also shipping delays due to driver shortages which encouraged more people to shop in-store. However, this year we don’t have the same issues so expect Black Friday to hit a new height in 2022.

France – Most French retailers do not participate in this day and question the impact, so it hasn’t become a tradition as it has in other countries.

Looking at the Black Friday search trends in France over the past 5 years, we can see that interest is declining. Some eCommerce platforms have tried to leverage this shopping event to increase sales, but there is still a lot of resistance within society. In France, it symbolises excessive consumerism and in 2019 there was a French legislative committee that opened a wider debate to ban Black Friday in the country.

Just because the shopping event isn’t as popular in France, doesn’t mean you can’t participate, you just need to plan more carefully.

Brazil – Black Friday is one of the biggest eCommerce shopping events of the year in Brazil, with it officially being celebrated since 2009. Spending on this day has increased on a yearly basis with no signs of slowing down.

Unlike in other countries, products and services such as real estate, automotive, food, and drinks are often found on offer. This isn’t normally seen in other countries across the world, but the frenzy in Brazil has completely taken off and spread into other industries.

For some families, Black Friday gives them the opportunity to purchase appliances that some find too expensive due to the high tax burden such as televisions, furniture, dishwashers, and refrigerators. Middle-class families are living in a painful economic reality and this shopping event represents the chance to purchase desired appliances for the home. A lot more planning goes into the purchases, so offers such as flash sales usually don’t perform as well.

Other shopping events around the world:

China’s Singles Day: World’s Biggest Shopping Event – In China, Singles Day which is celebrated on the 11th of November surpasses both Black Friday and Cyber Monday as the world’s biggest shopping day. Last year Chinese shoppers spent $139.1 billion, setting a new record despite a pandemic and worries about the strength of the Chinese consumer. It’s the world’s biggest shopping event of the year and is often advertised weeks in advance with retailers offering huge discounts.

Boxing Day – Celebrated in the UK, US, New Zealand, Australia, and Canada, another one of the biggest shopping events the day after Christmas Day. Traditionally before Black Friday took over, this was the main shopping day of the year. It’s often when people want to take advantage of all the deals after the holiday period, and in the UK it’s a public bank holiday so people often head out to the shops to grab some deals. However, last year several retailers in the UK closed on Boxing Day to give their staff an extra day to celebrate the festivities.

White Friday – This is a relatively new idea in the Middle East similar to Black Friday, as it takes place on the same date but generally lasts over four days. It was first introduced by the largest eCommerce site in UAE, Souq as a way of increasing traffic and sales to their website. It started in Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Kuwait, but has since expanded to Qatar, Egypt, Bahrain, and Oman.

What does this mean for businesses?

Huge shopping events such as Black Friday provide the perfect opportunity for businesses to increase revenue and reach new markets. There’s the opportunity to become more visible globally with more countries adopting these traditions. The growth is limited by the extent of their global reach, and more retailers are expanding each year and testing the waters.

GA Agency is a 360 digital marketing agency specialising in international growth, with an in-house multilingual team. If you’re looking for a strategic partner to grow your business through marketing services such as SEO consulting, get in touch to see how we can help.

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