John Lewis are an online retailer on a roll, especially when it comes to Black Friday, the self-proclaimed ‘biggest shopping day of the year’. Last year they recorded four times as many visits in the six hours between midnight and 6am then they managed over the entire Black Friday 2013. Black Friday 2013 was itself four times bigger than Black Friday 2012. The standout stat from their Black Friday 2015? Wearable technology.
Black Friday was another incredibly successful shopping day for the British retail giant. With the high benchmark set the year before, its incredible to think that they were able to grow another 11.9% on 2014. It did however throw out an interesting new consumer behaviour – shop online on Black friday, and then hit the stores over the weekend. Whilst this quirk makes sense in the UK, where we have no Thanksgiving and thus no public holiday, it did seem that that the lack of a public holiday had been duly ignored by the British public last year. This time round, the peak spend was online on Friday and then for John Lewis, 9.3% higher footfall on the Saturday.
Sales on JohnLewis.com were peaking at 4.9 orders per second, with their distribution team processing a peak of 5 parcels per second, meaning that the 18% growth in processing personnel was justified by the retailer being able to keep on top of the order volume.
Wearable tech dominates the sales
So clearly there was no shortage of buying going on – but what was getting bought?
The departmental store, which covers a wide array of gear from clothing, through to sports, toys and healthy and beauty saw pea sales occurring in its electrical department, which had its strongest online day ever. A chief driver of this was Fitbit, the market leading wearable tech manufacturer, whose sales rose an astonishing 1,329% on last year. This drove the entire wearables sales up 832% on the previous year, amply showcasing the growth rate that this technology niche is seeing.
Further linked to the wearable space is the market for connected goods for the home, with ever smarter tech emerging with the capability to ‘talk’ via wifi and bluetooth. Such tech includes the likes of the Phillips Hue lights, which offers a companion app which controls not only the light brightness but also the colour of the bulb. Such connected tech lept 63% year on year for John Lewis
“Black Friday itself marked a record day for John Lewis and strong trade continued into the weekend,” stated Retail Director Mark Lewis. “On Friday online trade really stepped forward, while shops saw their biggest increases over the weekend, showing that more than ever customers like to mix and match channels to shop in the most convenient way for them”
It will be interesting to observe how the IBM Watson predictions play out, as they had indicated that the Apple Watch would be top of the Christmas wearables chart. This represents the first evidence that contradicts the IBM genius computers, and we’ll keep you posted as more information emerges.