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Transforming trends in telco: The diminishing impact of Black Friday

One of the key trends we have seen in recent years across all our telco customers, is the decrease in the percentage of annual sales linked to the Black Friday weekend.

Data from our telco customer guided selling engines, reveal an average 11% decline over the past 2 years in the proportion of yearly sales that Black Friday weekend represents.

The end of Black Friday dominance?

Historically, the Black Friday weekend has been a crucial period for retailers across various industries, including telecommunications. It marked the initiation of the holiday shopping season, with consumers eagerly anticipating discounts and special deals. However, recent data indicates a gradual departure from the impact of this shopping extravaganza with businesses witnessing a reduction in the impact of Black Friday on their annual sales.

The declining influence of Black Friday suggests a broader trend—the dispersion of sales across the entire year. 

While our data shows the fourth quarter still remains an important period for the telco industry – with the bulk of sales happening across these months – it no longer holds the dominance it once did.  On average we have seen November make up just 9.4% of annual sales (year to date) across our telco customers.

11% decline since 2021 in the proportion of annual sales that Black Friday represents

A shift in consumer behaviour

Many retailers – not just telcos – are under significant pressure to meet sales targets every Black Friday.  But should they continue to depend on a successful Black Friday to boost annual sales revenues?  

According to recent data from YouGov, a significant proportion of UK consumers planned on opting out of Black Friday shopping. They believe that the discounts available during Black Friday are not as appealing as those offered at other times of the year.  And it seems shoppers in the United States shared a similar view.  21% of shoppers said they would skip Black Friday this year as they’re sceptical of how good the offers actually are. 

The IMRG Online Retail Index, which tracks the online sales performance of over 200 UK retailers, has indicated a year-on-year decline, with almost half of the 80 retailers polled in early November, reporting results below expectations. 

Data from across our telco customers seems to support the research. Year to date, Black Friday has accounted for an average of just 1.7% of yearly sales across our telco customers. Comparing this to the same period in 2022, this proportion has declined by -21%.

With customers being less reliant on a single, annual shopping event, does this shift prompt the need for a reevaluation of sales strategies?

The future of digital commerce

Rather than focusing efforts primarily on the Black Friday weekend, businesses need to rethink their digital commerce strategies to maintain consistent engagement with customers throughout the year. By embracing a year-round approach to sales and marketing, telco companies can move away from seasonal spikes and instead foster sustainable, steady growth.

How can they do this?

In an online market saturated with options, a highly personalised and more human approach to online selling is key to developing a robust and dependable stream of sales revenue throughout the year.

By understanding individual preferences, behaviours, and motivations, businesses can go beyond the traditional online shopping experience and deliver the human experience that people want. Adapting their approach to each buyer helps build trust and confidence – ensuring buyers feel that their personalised offer is better than any generic offers they might find on Black Friday. In fact, a study by Epsilon, reported that 80% of consumers are more likely to buy from a company that offered personalised experience. 

Furthermore, adapting to evolving buyer preferences keeps the online shopping experience up-to-date. Businesses should use data insights to instantly respond to preferences, offering personalised marketing, special deals, and product suggestions even when customers are browsing other sites. Providing tailored offers matching individual needs helps secure year-round sales, boost buyer confidence, and enhance overall customer satisfaction.

The choice is clear: either stick to the traditional reliance on Black Friday or embrace a more personalised, year-round strategy that fosters sustained growth throughout the entire year. The question now is whether businesses will adapt to this pivotal shift in the digital commerce landscape.

At 15gifts, we help our customers deliver highly personalised online experiences that build buyer confidence. We also enable our customers to leverage customer data for on-going actionable insights. If you’d like to find out more about how we do this, get in touch.

Alex Hookway
Senior Customer Analyst
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