A popular American pastime after Thanksgiving dinner used to be waiting in line at your favourite retail outlet for the annual Black Friday sales. Now, Americans are more likely to be waiting eagerly in front of their computers, laptops or mobile device screens, checking out the latest Black Friday deals online.
Due to increasing connectivity and the rise of e-commerce, Black Friday is transforming from a US phenomenon to become a global phenomenon, with connected shoppers in Asia crossing physical and geographical boundaries for the best deals. Adyen’s latest transaction data reported declining Black Friday sales in the United States (US) while data analytics vendor ShopperTrak noted that sales for Black Friday dropped to USD 1.8 billion from USD 2 billion last year.
Adyen’s global merchants tell a different story. According to our customer data, the average transaction value (ATV) almost doubled across Asia as compared to 2014. For retailers in Asia, Black Friday is alive and well.
Black Friday around the world
Retailers worldwide are adopting Black Friday in order to kick-start festive shopping both online and in-store. In some parts of Asia, such as Japan, Black Friday and Cyber Monday merged into one non-stop sale weekend with cross-channel retailers running promotions both online and in-store. Sales volumes increased by 170 per cent in a year-on-year comparison over the course of the Black Friday weekend.
For some international high-end retailers, Black Friday came in a close second to Singles Day on November 11, when retailers in Asia run massive shopping promotions in celebration of singlehood. Although localised Singles Day sales continue to demonstrate more relevance with shoppers in Asia, especially those in Southeast Asia and China, Black Friday is certainly making headway as a start to festive shopping. Shoppers are also spending more this festive season, with China leading the way in Asia on shopper spent. Shoppers in China spent twice the amount this Black Friday as compared to the same period in 2014.
So what is driving the international expansion of Black Friday?
The growing reach of US e-commerce giants like Amazon certainly contributed to the global spread of Black Friday / Cyber Monday. Keen to capitalise on this sale period across all territories, we see more and more US merchants put in considerable investment towards expanding Black Friday beyond the US. Seeing the potential of the market, more USand European retailers are shipping to our region, providing more options to shoppers in Asia. Whereas brands from the United States display more established Black Friday promotions, local and regional retail giants, such as Alibaba, Lazada, Qoo10, Rakuten and Zalora, are also leveraging Black Friday/Cyber Monday promotions, and are increasingly gaining traction locally.
Given the comparative ease with which e-commerce businesses can adapt to new trends, it is of little surprise that other retailers want in on the action. We can definitely expect this upwards trajectory to continue next year as more e-commerce retailers seize the opportunity.
Despite declining Black Friday sales in the US, APAC shows signs of hope, helping Black Friday / Cyber Monday grow globally. More consumers will be starting their seasonal shopping at the end of November – whether they celebrate Thanksgiving or not.
While it may seem that shoppers worldwide are shopping only during such promotions, Adyen believes that instead of adversely affecting transactions during the non-promotion period, such seasonal shopping promotions expand the size of the market. They provide consumers with even more opportunities to shop.
Adyen saw its global transaction volumes increase by 50 per cent during Black Friday / Cyber Monday, and its platform reached a whole new record in terms of processing volumes, all the while, maintaining maximum stability and uptime. We strongly believe that such seasonal shopping promotions will continue to take centre stage globally in 2016 and we look forward to continue scaling in order to match the growth of our merchants in the New Year.