Amazon Dominates as Black Friday Fever Sweeps Across UK
The traditionally American shopping event that is Black Friday has now firmly taken its place in the UK shopping market. With a host of top retailers such as John Lewis, Amazon and Apple offering massive discounts on a wide range of products last week, thrifty online shoppers managed to snag countless bargains as retailers entered into a price war.
It is predicted that on Black Friday (23rd November) alone, bargain hunting Britons spent just over £200m online. Consumer website MoneySavingExpert said: “American retailers offer customers massive reductions the day after Thanksgiving – and now the Black Friday trend has arrived in the UK.”
Amazon’s huge savings will continue until up until next week on ‘Cyber Monday’ (December 3rd), historically the busiest online shopping day of the year. On Cyber Monday in 2011, Amazon processed over three million orders, a rate of 35 items per second over the full 24 hours.
It seems as though negative public sentiment towards Amazon, after it was revealed how little tax they pay in the UK, has long since been forgotten. Amazon UK’s Managing Director, Chris North, said: “Monday December 3rd could be the busiest day in the history of Amazon.co.uk, and we’re preparing for it by hiring more than 10,000 seasonal employees across our eight UK fulfilment centres.”
Over the Black Friday weekend, Amazon slashed the price of their flagship Kindle Fire touchscreen tablet from £129 to £99. “Customers purchased more than three times as many Kindle devices on Black Friday than on any other day in its history on Amazon.co.uk, and our previous record was impressive,” said Jorrit Van der Meulen, Vice President, Kindle EU.
Throughout the week, the online retail giant offered huge discounts on a wide range of products including jewellery, TVs and children’s toys. Some products were reduced by a staggering 70%, and the most heavily discounted items sold out within a matter of seconds.
Amazon’s lightning deals sparked a price war amongst their retail rivals – Apple, who rarely offer any form of discount, discounted prices across their entire range by 10% for 24 hours. Apple reduced its’ MacBook Air laptop by £81 to £768 and its’ iPad was discounted by £31 to £368. Not wanting to visibly jump on the bandwagon, Apple referred to the discounts as an exclusive “shopping event”, rather than a Black Friday sale.
Retailers who weren’t offering discounts immediately fell behind in the chase for online sales. Currys, Tesco and Asda all followed suit and offered significant discounts on a number of items. John Lewis even offered to price-match any products in their range which were being sold for lower prices by their rivals.
It seems as though the UK’s ongoing recession has had little to no impact on the e-Commerce market, with record breaking online sales being reported from a number of retailers. With the same e-Retailers gearing up for even more business next Monday, 2012 seems to have set a precedent as the year that Black Friday fever truly took over the British market.