Amazon is heading for a bumper Black Friday as lockdown-battered high streets, malls and retail parks cede trade to the online behemoth.
Wunderman Thompson has christened this year's sales spectacular as an 'online-first' event, projecting that Amazon will hoover up 65% of all spend with at least 67% of British consumers ditching bricks and mortar outlets in favour of web-based spending.
The Black Friday 2020 report is based on two Censuswide surveys spanning 5,000 online consumers between them conducted in January and September this year.
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According to the Black Friday 2020 report, Amazon has emerged as a lockdown winner, monopolising Black Friday trade going into the 'Mega Peak' shopping frenzy which characterises the 10-week pre-Christmas build-up.
Back in September 67% of UK consumers predicted that they would conduct Black Friday shopping online but with the reintroduction of lockdown measures and the closure of non-essential physical retail that proportion is only likely to increase.
Underlying the importance of Black Friday to seasonal sales, the period is predicted to account for 43% of all spending in the run up to Christmas.
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While online retailers are set to win big, this shift disguises weak underlying confidence, with the continued pandemic plight expected to lead to a 22% fall in sales overall, which stood at £5.5bn last year.
38% of respondents expect to spend less during Black Friday this year, far outnumbering the 16% who expect to spend more. Compounding the misery are a further 20% of consumers who have reined in spending amid fears over Brexit.
Logistical concerns are likely to bring forward significant volumes of spending with 60% concerned about the possibility of missed or delayed deliveries.
Keen to tide themselves through the pandemic, some 34% of shoppers intend to 'self-gift', a fall from the 41% proportion intending to treat themselves last year.
Hugh Fletcher, global head of consultancy and innovation at Wunderman Thompson Commerce, said: “This distinctly online-first event will present many challenges – and opportunities – for brands, retailers and marketplaces with so much uncertainty in the market. Those businesses who have invested in their e-commerce operations properly look set to reap the biggest rewards, while those who haven’t will struggle to compete for market share in an increasingly digital shopping space."
He went on: “One of the digital natives set to profit most is, once again, Amazon. It delayed its summer Prime Day to October to kick off the 10-week sales bonanza, introduced Black Friday deals early and can offer shoppers’ convenience, reliability and diversity in its product range."