Originating as an American exercise, Black Friday, with its huge discounts and limited offers, has grown globally and is now synonymous with packed parking lots and aggressive queues. However, this year may mark the first in which online offers and shopping take precedence.
The growing popularity for Black Friday is not only seen in the USA, but around the world. As an example, the Google Trends Graph below displays the popularity of searches for Black Friday in Germany in the last 5 years, with a clear and growing peak seen towards the end of November.
However, it remains that a limited number of home improvement & DIY retailers are currently actively promoting Black Friday offers.
Furthermore, even though it seems Black Friday is a growing trend, Covid-19 has led to some retailers looking to avoid one day promotions in order to discourage crowds. Now, questions are beginning to rise around the relevance of Black Friday, with retailers looking towards “seasons of savings” and online offers instead. Is the DIY industry missing out?
How did Black Friday develop?
Originating from the USA, Black Friday now has a tight grasp on the European retailing landscape. How has it been adopted so quickly in Europe?
A large factor in Black Friday’s adoption into the European market can be traced back to the 2005 economic crisis, as retailers considered methods to improve their revenues in times of economic hardship, in which customers are generally more cautious of their spending. This begs the question, with the economic hardships that a likely to follow Covid-19, will retailers look again towards Black Friday as an answer? Furthermore, with the digitalisation of society, could the answer not lie in Black Friday, but the rather a digital alternative?
Cyber Monday is the term for the online reflection of Black Friday. Although this term is currently not as ubiquitous as Black Friday, in view of the various lockdowns in place around the world and increasing use of digital shopping channels, numerous retailers are now looking toward Cyber Monday as an opportunity to make up for previous loses, with some thought leaders predicting Cyber Monday will become more important than Black Friday in the near future. Perhaps this is where opportunity lies for DIY retailers.
We are also seeing the introduction of various other digital shopping days, for example Prime Day, with exclusive offers for Amazon Prime customers, and Singles’ Day, originating in China but quickly gaining traction internationally.
Black Friday in the DIY Sector
But what of Black Friday and DIY? A simple search including the market leaders in the USA, the largest market for DIY, shows that Black Friday has and continues to play an important role for them. However, for the first time, this year both the Home Depot and Lowe’s have opted for an extended discount shopping season rather than presenting their discounted offers on one day. We are experiencing the evolution of the traditional Black Friday offer into a more than a month-long shopping and saving extravaganza.
Casting an eye at the largest home improvement and DIY retailers outside of the USA, only a handful of these are actively promoting Black Friday, with many of these sites opting to promote ongoing discounts tied into the upcoming holiday season instead. If home improvement & DIY retailers are not offering these discounts, they are likely to lose their competitive edge, and customers.
Beyond the DIY sector the landscape is different, with the largest department stores, electronic retailers, and one of the most influential players of all, Amazon, all devoting a large share of their marketing to their individual Black Friday Deals.
So how can players in the DIY Sector take advantage of Black Friday?
In short, it seems that looking towards promotion of online channels rather than a one-off shopping day might be the answer, especially in the current climate. But how can players in the DIY Sector take advantage of these shopping events?
The first step would of course be to analyse and evaluate what other programs DIY, and other retail, players, are initiating to promote Black Friday and to define who the target audience are. It seems that social media is not in fact one of the main channels that retailers use to promote their black Friday deals, perhaps due to the low purchasing power of the majority of users. In this sense it may be more valuable to rely on traditional methods of advertising, through magazine supplements, emails and television ads.
The most heavily used promotion channel seems to be on the websites of these players. Retailers that are offering Black Friday deals are no longer offering these savings in store alone, but are using omni-channel methods and introducing the same savings both online and instore. Considering the digitalisation of society, alongside the global Covid-19 pandemic, it is clear that a move online is necessary, with many predicting that this year may be the first in which we see a decrease in physical footfall, and far more online clicks. This trend was seen prior to Covid-19, but the virus has acted as a catalyst for this development.
In summary, outside of the USA, Black Friday (alongside other shopping days) are currently not highly adopted in the home improvement & DIY sector, with many of these retailers seeming to opt for “Christmas savings” as their main promotional channel at this time of year.
However, with the rapidly changing times, digitalisation of society and, most importantly, economic hardship likely to follow Covid-19, retailers in the DIY sector may have to look more towards these types of well marketed and elaborate shopping events like Cyber Monday, a Black Friday season and Singles Day, to boost their sales and maintain the relevance and competitive advantage in the new normal of tomorrow.
For more information, please contact:
Junior Communication Editor