Black Friday faces black future in marketing rethink

christmas-234105_1920Consumers who are pinning their hopes on bumper Black Friday sales might have to think again after nearly half (46%) of retail marketers said they are considering cancelling their events due to ongoing uncertainties surrounding the pandemic.

With £6m spent by UK consumers during last year’s Black Friday sales holiday, the new study by Emarsys comes exactly 100 days before most events kick off.

However, less than 13% of marketers have finished their Black Friday preparations, with a further quarter admitting their company is yet to start any planning at all.

Even so, eight out ten (81%) retail marketers are planning to encourage their customer base to shop online as opposed to in-store as a safety precaution although nearly three-quarters (74%) of Brits say they missed elements of shopping in physical stores.

Emarsys director of customer engagement Payal Hindocha said: “With just 100 days until Black Friday, it’s clear that many marketers are less prepared than they should be for the annual retail event.

“However, while uncertainties around in-store activities are understandable, given the last 18 months, this is a key event in the calendar, and the time for finalising plans is now.

“While the last year and a half has been disruptive, there is still time to effectively plan for any eventuality, whether sales go ahead in-store or businesses are once again forced to pivot to online-only.

“At the same time, it’s worth remembering that while Black Friday is a big priority for this quarter, it’s not just about the biggest discounts or securing the most sign-ups from new customers.”

According to a recent report by eBay Ads UK, a quarter (25%) of Brits that celebrate Christmas say they will have started thinking about Christmas shopping before the end of August.

Meanwhile, three in five respondents (60%) feel optimistic that they will be able to celebrate as usual this Christmas, and half (49%) think that this Christmas will feel traditional and plan to do what they always do. A quarter (25%) feel Christmas will be more exciting this year – up from 16% in 2020.

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