Chatter Zone explains why Black Friday sales were higher online

4th January 2016 12:26

This blog was written by Gill Redfern, Research Director

Retail media reports following Black Friday trading show a clear shift towards online and away from bricks and mortar stores.  According to Chatter Zone explains why Black Friday sales were higher onlineIMRG and Experian, online sales across the four days (including Cyber Monday) reached £3.3bn, while bricks and mortar stores saw footfall drop by 4.5% according to Springboard data.

Our online community of parents, kids and teens ‘Chatter Zone’ was on hand to explain why there has been a shift towards online for pre-Christmas sales shopping this year.

Chatter Zone families love to get a bargain on their planned Christmas gift purchases, but the ‘fight’ to grab the best savings instore can negate any pleasure that the savings may offer; busy stores, jumbled merchandising, stress of getting hold of the best deals, long queues, alongside TV images of physical fights in some stores on Black Friday last year, are all etched on the minds of Chatter Zone parents!

Over half of our Chatter Zone members did make purchases on Black Friday or Cyber Monday this year, and of those a staggering 9 in ten opted to buy online rather than go instore.  While online sales at this time of year are described by most community members as easy and hassle free, the instore sales are thought to be stressful and exhausting.  One Chatter Zone mum said “I won't go to any shops on Black Friday - I can't stand it when a shop looks like a jumble sale!” However, some frustrations with online also creep in and expectations for a positive online customer experience are high at this time of year; overloaded websites crashing, email bombardment in the run up to Black Friday and a lack of product availability can also frustrate online customers.

The retail winner over Black Friday and Cyber Monday according to our Chatter Zone community was Amazon with its wide product choice, reliable delivery service and great deals.  Amazon Prime members utilising next day delivery at no added cost are even more likely to favour this retailer when shopping for pre-Christmas deals.  Argos, Next, Tesco Direct, John Lewis and M&S are also singled out for having some great Black Friday / Cyber Monday deals and Chatter Zone community members feel sufficiently confident in their delivery and/or click and collect services to place Christmas gifting orders online.

Thinking ahead to after the crackers have been pulled and the turkey gobbled up, two thirds of Chatter Zone parents expect to hit the stores once again come Boxing Day or early January.  Interestingly the bricks and mortar stores have a far greater draw post-Christmas, with well over half of those expecting to take advantage of January savings expecting to hit the shops, compared to 4 in ten planning to go online to take advantage of January savings.  This preference for bricks and mortar is driven in part by the nature of products being browsed, where furniture, homeware, white goods and computing equipment are particularly sought after.

For further Chatter Zone insight or to ask our community of parents, kids and teens some questions of your own please contact

Chatter Zone explains why Black Friday sales were higher onlineAlternatively, you can find out more about Chatter Zone at the MRS one-day Kids & Youth Research conference on January 28th, 2016, where our Research Director Gill Redfern will be discussing online communities and the role of gamification in engaging kids and youth audiences.

For more information on the MRS event, please click the link below.

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