28th November 2018

Black Friday 2018: The Alternative View on What the Data Tells Us

Mike Blackburn

Hitwise is one of the leading audience insight providers monitoring the online behaviour over over 3 million people. With this panel they're able to provide a fairly accurate picture of what's happening on the internet.

This afternoon they've just published their first blog about what happened traffic wise on Black Friday 2018 entitled Black Friday 2018: UK retail visits down 3%, Amazon up 3% YoY. This very snappily titled blog contains some great data and is well worth a read.

However, behind the headlines there's some really interesting things to consider:

Cyber Week 2018 was Not as Busy as Last Year

Traffic to retail sites was down 1% on the same week as last year, Black Friday traffic was down 3% year on year.

This could be a sign of a number of things:

  1. The economy could be slowing with people having less money to spend
  2. Bricks & Mortar stores have got their acts together and competed more effectively in 2018 - with better offers.
  3. Consumers are becoming more sceptical about deals. The study gives detail about some major retailers who have grown significantly - but draw attention to the correlation between the depth of discount offered and growth.

It Seems the UK Population is Getting Increasingly Desperate

Now this is just our stab at interpreting what the detail in the report on growth by market sector indicates but we think it goes to show the UK population is getting more and more desperate.

The only retail sectors that saw any growth were:

  • Grocery & Alcohol
  • House & Garden
  • Apparel
  • Auctions

It seems more and more of us are trying to find a bargain on sites like Ebay, but that's not the only indicator that times are hard. Picture now someone who buys a shed-load of alcohol, a hosepipe and a new suit - it doesn't take a genius to come to the conclusion that person is not in a good place.

Amazon is Kicking It

Whist the retail sector as a whole didn't seem to have a strong cyber week Amazon seems to have kicked it.

They increased their traffic with the result that over 26% of online retail traffic went to their site. Now with sales for the period estimated at £7bn that means they could have done around £1.5bn in revenue last week alone.

It makes us wonder if they might pay more than the £1.7m tax they paid the whole of last year.

As a country we need to sort out the taxation of these tech-giants as the decline of traditional tax-paying businesses that their growth causes is simply going to hit the governments sources if finance.

There are a Lot of New Customers for Chocolate Bacon Chilli


The blog lists the top ten sellers for Amazon over the period, as you'd expect their sales are dominated by Alexa enabled devices.

However, there were three products that made the top ten that seemed a little surprising. Lots of people bought Ferrero chocolate, Jack Daniels and an electric pressure cooker. It made us wonder if there was a common factor driving the sales of these particular products and we discovered the answer.

There's a lovely sounding recipe for Chocolate Whiskey Bacon Chilli on website Wallflowerkitchen.com which needs all three things. Now I'd never have thought of putting all those things and whiskey together in one recipe but it sounds great.

With that I know what I'm doing this evening, I'll be nipping down to the supermarket to get everything I need brew up a bowl of spicy goodness.

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