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In the lead-up to November – and, therefore, Black Friday – this year the trading climate was not looking very positive. Both December 2018 and July 2019 reported the worst sales growth of their respective months ever; the electricals sector was in decline throughout the whole year; in August, the home & garden sector trudged to its worst result since 2015. Indeed, the trendline was slanting downwards across most of the categories IMRG tracks.

After a very poor summer, demand seemed to be very low going into November. IMRG forecast growth for the Black Friday period (which we define as an eight-day week running Mon 23 Nov – Mon 30 Nov in 2019) to be low single-digit, particularly given the Black Friday period in 2018 fell a bit flat. It felt like appetite for the sales event was perhaps declining.

However – Black Friday actually generated very high sales growth for online. The day itself was only up +5.8%, though that is still good growth against a very high base, but across the Black Friday period it was up +11.7%. At IMRG, we thought that might mean November overall was a bit weak as Black Friday sucked up all the volume into a single week, but the month came in at +16.4%; the strongest for any since May 2018.

So what did we learn from the Black Friday period 2019, and what does it mean for the event next year? This report focuses on five key developments from the peak sales event in 2019.

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