Black Friday Issues & Trends in 2021: What Learnings Can We Implement for Black Friday in 2022?

21 September 2022

Even though Black Friday was a success overall, there were many challenges and issues that retailers faced in 2021 stunting their success. We dive deeper into these issues and look at the learnings we can take going into Black Friday 2022.

Supply Chain Issues

One of the biggest concerns for retailers in the lead up to Black Friday were supply chain disruptions, leaving many with insufficient stock to meet demand due to the delays. Some retailers were left with empty shelves both in-store and online during the sale season, and it was a hot topic throughout the news and media outlets.

Investing in technology is one of the ways to improve supply chain resilience for when disruption inevitably strikes again. Dirk Holbach, chief supply chain officer at Henkel says “The real-time visibility along our supply chain, which is a result of deploying Industry 4.0 technologies, allowed us to focus on the right challenges and to make the best decisions.”

Even though it’s good to invest in improving supply chain resilience, we’re not expected to have the same issues this year so it isn’t something you should be too concerned about.

Higher Consumer Costs

Last year we saw household finances squeezed by inflation causing consumers to start shopping earlier than expected to help spread the cost of Christmas. This may continue to have an impact on Black Friday sales this year as inflation continues to rise with the cost of living becoming increasingly more expensive.

It’s likely that Black Friday will look slightly different this year, shoppers might see fewer deals and retailers may notice that heavily discounted items sell out faster than normal. Comparison shopping is becoming more popular and this could mean consumers shopping around for the best deals this sales season more often instead of flocking when they see the offers announced, as comparing prices has become more important than ever before. Google even added a new ‘deals’ section to the search results when people search for offers in particular, so competition could rise.

Earlier Search Interest

Last year shoppers were searching for deals even earlier according to Google Trends, and it’s expected to follow the same trajectory this year. This means that it’s even more important that you are prepared and understand the focus around your offers messaging to capture the consumers attention.

In-Store Shopping Made a Return

After Black Friday being predominantly online in 2020, last year consumers were eager to get back into physical stores to make their purchases and didn’t have to worry about shipping disruptions, wondering if they would receive their items or not. You need to take into account that shopping is a social occasion, therefore if a strong social experience can be offered it will help build connections, both in person and online.

Brand Loyalty

Consumers in 2021 favoured for the best deals due to the rising cost of living, meaning brand loyalty wasn’t as strong as in previous years. With the rise in inflation this trend will continue, this creates opportunities for brands to bring in new customers with great offers and experiences.

Buy Now, Pay Later

You can’t visit any big retail website without having the option to ‘buy now, pay later’ which has grown over the past year. It’s a way to reach customers who may feel limited with their current finances and want to pay it back over the period of a couple of months, taking away the financial stress and bringing joy back into shopping. Smaller businesses are starting to jump on this trend too.

Despite the challenges faced, expectations amongst eCommerce retailers remained high and overall were a success. The global pandemic caused a huge shift in consumer behaviour and how we live our lives. Even though we don’t face the same issues as the previous year, the purchasing decisions consumers now make are here to stay and could continue for many years.

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