Phibbs forecasts more Black Friday innovations in the future

A respected retail expert says the extension of Black Friday into a multi-day event was an extremely shrewd move by major brands.

Bob Phibbs has spent nearly 30 years as a retail guru, helping some of the world’s biggest organisations maximise their potential.

Caesars Palace, Yamaha, Lego, Husqvarna and Hunter Douglas are amongst the businesses who have tapped into Phibbs’ expertise over the past three decades.

All of those companies will take part in Black Friday, an annual sales drive that has mushroomed into a global phenomenon in recent years.

Black Friday initially took place in brick-and-mortar venues, with retailers aggressively discounting selected items as a way to drive revenues.

Technology products such as televisions were one of the most common Black Friday items and have remained that way since the event moved into the online arena.

A recent study by Betway on Black Friday perfectly highlights that point, with seven of the top 10 most searched for products in the lead up to last year’s event falling into the technology category.

The most popular item in terms of internet searches was the Nintendo Switch home video game system, which was looked up nearly three million times.

Global expenditure was $58 billion, with people in the United States leading the way when it came to spending the most money per person.

US citizens splashed out $497 each, while Canada ($441), United Kingdom ($407), Ireland ($348) and United Arab Emirates ($298) rounded off the top five.

Phibbs says the entire period from Black Friday through to December is a time where businesses can turn a negative financial year into a profitable one.

“It’s the biggest of the big,” he said.

“The Walmarts and even Amazons launched their Black Friday deals back in October. We can also look at Prime Day in the summer.

“There used to be Cyber Monday that was a big deal before we had apps and people had internet in their homes.

“People came back to work and did their shopping on Monday because that was the only time they could actually get online. That’s not the case anymore.

“People have more time to do their shopping.”

The global success of Black Friday has spawned many other similar sales events across the world, with China’s Singles’ Day undoubtedly the most noteworthy.

It takes place annually November 11 and was originally a holiday to celebrate people who are not in relationships, making it the opposite of Valentine’s Day.

However, online retailer Alibaba turned the day into a 24-hour festival of shopping, offering massive discounts. Last year more than $100bn was spent, smashing Black Friday out of the ballpark.

Australia’s Click Frenzy and Mexico’s El Buen Fin are other notable sales events where more than £100 million in retail sales are generated.

Phibbs believes that if there is a large enough customer base to tap into, more countries will develop their own events over the coming years.

“I think we’re going to continue to see more niche events that can get people excited,” added Phibbs.

“We’re certainly seeing more innovation coming out of Asia, and other places as well – look at Singles’ Day.

“Chinese New Year used to be a niche thing, now it’s everywhere. It gives you a chance to go out to a different consumer and it gives you a chance to give people the feeling that they matter.”

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