Black Friday is a US sales event. It signals the end of Thanksgiving and the start of the Christmas sales rush.
That is where it stayed for more than a decade, until Amazon decided to run Black Friday promotions across Europe. A few other retailers followed and then, in 2014, it snowballed, with most major stores getting in on the action in the UK.
In games it made a serious impact. Although lots of consoles were sold, December sales were – almost as a direct result – weaker. So is Black Friday really a useful event? Is retail simply moving Christmas sales earlier and generating less money as a result?
We teamed up with Ipsos Connect’s GameTrack survey – a detailed consumer research project that combines online interviews with real face-to-face discussions – to understand a bit more about consumer expectations surrounding Black Friday in 2015.
"30 per cent of PS4, Xbox One and Wii U owners
will buy games or games hardware during Black Friday,
rather than at other times."
The vast majority of shoppers in Britain now know what Black Friday is and that it is coming. 81 per cent of UK consumers are aware of Black Friday – a number that rises to 85 per cent for gamers.
That’s significantly higher than the rest of Europe. Awareness for Black Friday is low in France (24 per cent) and Germany (16 per cent), although, again, awareness of the day is higher amongst gamers (26 per cent for France, 21 per cent for Germany). Spanish gamers are more in-tune with the sales event – 64 per cent know it is coming – but this is still well below the UK.
Interestingly, awareness of Black Friday has increased disdain for the event. In the UK, 36 per cent of these consumers (and 38 per cent of gamers) dislike the idea of Black Friday. However, dislike for the day of discounting is relatively low in France (14 per cent) and Germany (15 per cent).
The most interesting data is how Black Friday has impacted consumer buying behaviour this year.
19 per cent of all Black Friday-aware gamers in the UK say they are waiting until the sales event before buying software or hardware – that number rises to 30 per cent for gamers on the new consoles (PS4, Xbox One and Wii U).
In addition, 15 per cent of Black Friday-aware UK gamers say they will be buying games or hardware as Christmas gifts that weekend as opposed to other times. That number increases to 22 per cent for all console gamers and 30 per cent for PS4, Xbox One or Wii U gamers.
In more positive news, 11 per cent of these gamers did say they are more likely to buy more products as a result of Black Friday (a number that increases to 17 per cent for console gamers and 24 per cent for new-console gamers).
Across the rest of Europe, although Black Friday awareness is lower, the impact on consumer behaviour is more severe. Out of those gamers that are familiar with Black Friday, 37 per cent in France, 29 per cent in Germany and 28 per cent in Spain say they are holding off buying games or games hardware to see if they will appear in the Black Friday sales window.
Below is Ipsos Connect’s GameTrack findings: