Was Black Friday week a little better than we anticipated for online retail?
In September, IMRG carefully curated a total market and categories forecast for the 21st – 28th November 2022.
The total market defied the gravity of extenuating circumstances, such as the cost-of-living crisis and the World Cup clash, scoring a positive territory revenue result of +0.3% YoY (Year-on-Year), albeit still very low.
While clothing generally performed better than other online retail categories throughout 2022, in the last little while we have seen its growth drop away. In Black Friday week the category performed worse than expected (0%), at -1.1% YoY.
In comparison, health & beauty had a fantastic time considering it was one of the earliest categories for live Black Friday campaigns this year. In keeping up the weekly momentum, the result was +3.8% YoY.
Simultaneously, electricals had their fair share of joy as they experienced a growth of +2.8% YoY. Perhaps they have the football extravaganzas to thank!
While it is not as steep as we predicted, home & garden did see a decline of -0.7% YoY. This negative territory figure is compared to 2021, a pandemic year that saw more customers stuck indoors, and thus they might already have relatively new furniture. Also, high-budget items might not cut people’s Christmas wish lists this year.
Now that the dust has settled on the Black Friday peak, what actually happened is becoming clearer.
We were anticipating a decline of -5% in online revenue for the week. The day of Black Friday was indeed down -5.5%, but growth for the week as a whole was flat (+0.3%). While this may sound like a disappointing result, it is ahead of forecast and, in the context of this year, means that demand in November was ahead of where it has been for most of 2022.
Prior to November, we had only recorded positive growth in two weeks over the summer, which was driven by extreme heatwaves due to spikes in garden and clothing sales. In November, we recorded three weeks of positive growth in a row – two of them lower than a single percentage point, but positive nonetheless – and in 2022 that has been very hard to come by.