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Online retail sales up 61% in first week of November as Black Friday sales step forward

Tom Bottomley
17 November 2020

The first week of November saw a huge uplift in online retail sales – jumping +61% - in the strongest year-on-year growth since June, 2020, according to the latest data from IMRG Capgemini Online Retail Index, in what was also the fourth highest growth rate so far this year. 

It’s a “clear sign that Christmas and Black Friday shopping has been pulled forward” says the research.

November regularly sees high volumes of online orders as people start to think about Christmas gifts and retailers put on their Black Friday discounts – often lasting at least two weeks – but seeing a sales spike so early in the month is notable. Lockdown 2 is clearly playing its part.

Retailers have also launched their Black Friday campaigns earlier this year, possibly “in response to massive increases in site traffic.” Of the 320 retailers IMRG is monitoring, on 11 November 11.6% had a live campaign already, versus just 3.6% for the same day in 2019.

Justin Opie, Managing Director of IMRG, said: “In contrast to some of the more pessimistic forecasting around Black Friday sales, this impressive growth indicates that November is well on track to be a record-breaking month for online retail.

“While Black Friday is still the peak shopping day of the year, it’s standalone significance is waning as Black Friday has evolved into a month-long sales period.

Andy Mulcahy, Strategy and Insight Director at IMRG, added: “Circumstances appear to be conspiring to make November a very big month for online sales. Black Friday week always is, but this year – with the need to encourage shoppers to do the bulk of their online purchasing a bit earlier, avoiding heavy backlogs and delays in proximity to Christmas, the fact that people have responded so strongly in early November is very positive.

“It’s best to experience potentially overwhelming volumes now, so it can all be processed well in advance of Christmas.”

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