Black Friday discounting slashed the average value of online purchases in the electrical sector by 22.7 per cent year on year, a new report suggests.
Discounts on electronics were key for attracting bargain-hunting Black Friday shoppers, but new figures show the price cuts brought the average basket value down to £119 in November, its lowest value since the IMRG Capgemini eRetail Sales Index started tracking the sector in 2006.
All online retail sectors except for home and garden recorded tumbling average basket values – the average value of online purchases in a particular sector – from the previous month because of heavy discounting, the index found.
Five sectors, including electronics, footwear, gifts, menswear and womenswear, experienced lower average basket values compared with November 2015.
Online sales on the whole are growing, however. The index found the discounts persuaded consumers to purchase, with a growth rate of 22.9 per cent recorded in November, but the surge in sales over Black Friday is "cannibalising" purchases across the peak shopping period, according to Bhavesh Unadkat, management consultant in retail customer engagement design at Capgemini.
Online sales the week before Black Friday fell an average 7 per cent, while Boxing Day sales have dipped consistently over the last three years. In terms of what this means for retailers, maintaining momentum across the whole peak period has never been more important.
Multichannel retailers beat online-only retailers at their own game this year, outperforming growth rates in online sales for the first time by 9.9 per cent.
Sales made on tablets were up 12.5 per cent year on year, while sales on smartphones surged 89.2 per cent.
The price cuts consumers expect on Black Friday challenges retailers to make a profit, Justin Opie, managing director of IMRG said.
One trick is to try to use discounting to pull shoppers in, but restrict it to a selection of products in the hope that they will buy other products either at lower discounted rates or even full price, to help balance out any hit to margins overall.