Black Friday Kicks Off A Digital Christmas Shopping Spree In Britain

Christmas shopping has started early this year—and gone online—partly forced on British consumers by a second month-long lockdown in England that started on November 5. With non-essential retailers closed up and sitting tight, a festive online buying surge is taking place right now in the run up to Black Friday.

Big players had already seen Christmas-related searches rise in October. Marks & Spencer reported they were 80% up on last year as customers went online to M& for seasonal inspiration.

According to new research from independent economics consultancy Retail Economics in partnership with shopping payments group Klarna, 23 million Brits plan to do at least half of their Christmas shopping online—that is more than two in five consumers (43%). And for those planning to take part in Black Friday shopping, this proportion rises to more than two thirds (68%).

The British government today announced that non-essential retail will reopen when the current second lockdown ends on December 2, leading to what is hoped will be a rush to physical stores in December.

In the meantime, retailers have naturally pivoted to their online channels to make up for the loss of a month’s worth of in-store sales—and this year, Black Friday is an opportunity that is not being wasted.

Among the biggest High Street names, John Lewis is offering deals that it will price match if shoppers find them cheaper elsewhere, and Sainsbury-owned Argos is promising that ‘Black Friday’ badged products will have some of the retailer’s “lowest ever” prices or price cuts.

In the half year to September 19, Argos’s digital model helped it outperform the general market across seven product categories, particularly furniture and domestic appliances. The strong growth at the retailer, which sells more than 60,000 products online and in-store, indicates just how powerful online shopping and click-and-collect services have become.

Biggest Black Friday ever”

Retail Economics CEO Richard Lim says: “The second lockdown has ensured it will be a digital Christmas this year. The seismic shift towards online will create the biggest Black Friday ever, as savvy shoppers bring forward their Christmas spending to take advantage of discounts. In reality, it will be more like ‘Black November’ this year.”

Spending during the retail bonanza is expected to be concentrated on electricals, apparel and toys—typical of previous years.

Due to the lockdown, online as a proportion of total November retail sales is already on track to reach a record high proportion. Throwing Black Friday into the mix will bump up that share. It was 27.6% in September and 28.5% in October according to the Office of National Statistics.

ONS data also showed that in October there was a large bounce of 7.7% in retail sales by value (excluding automotive fuel) compared to the same month in

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FIH Pro League: Great Britain men and women lose to Netherlands

Fiona Crackles goes forward for GB
Fiona Crackles goes forward for GB against the number one side in the world

Great Britain’s women and men both lost to the Netherlands in the second Pro League matches between the sides in three days.

The women were beaten 3-0 by the Dutch, who are the world number one-ranked side.

The men lost 3-1 with Jeroen Hertzberger scoring twice in the last quarter.

Both GB teams now travel to face Belgium in another double-header on Saturday and Sunday.

Mark Hager’s women’s side fell behind after two minutes when a goalbound shot hit GB captain Laura Unsworth’s leg and Caia Van Maasakker sent Sabbie Heesh the wrong way from the penalty stroke.

The Dutch doubled their lead after 26 minutes when Frederique Matla scored her 44th goal in 73 internationals from a penalty corner, and when GB did find the net at the end of the first half the goal was disallowed for obstruction.

The Olympic champions forced a series of penalty corners in the third quarter but were unable to convert, and captain Eva de Goede wrapped up victory in heavy rain in Amstelveen.

The men, who had lost to their opponents on Tuesday, fell behind after eight minutes when Mink van der Weerden converted a penalty corner.

Phil Roper gave GB hope with an equaliser into the bottom right corner of the net just before the break.

But Hertzberger marked his 250th appearance for his country with a quickfire double to secure the points.

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FIH League: Great Britain women’s hockey team earn point on return to action

Jo Hunter
Jo Hunter scored her first goal for Great Britain to earn a point against the Netherlands

Olympic champions Great Britain were held to a draw with the Netherlands before losing the shootout in their first competitive game since February.

After GB women were beaten 3-1 in the shootout following the 1-1 draw, the men were beaten 1-0 in Amstelveen.

It was a first game in nearly nine months for both GB teams after the Pro League was suspended because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Jo Hunter’s first Great Britain goal cancelled out Pien Dicke’s opener.

That draw earned a point for GB women against the side ranked number one in the world – but they were unable to earn a bonus point in the shootout.

Ellie Rayer was on target in the shootout but Tess Howard and Lily Owsley were both denied for Mark Hager’s side, who won Olympic gold in 2016.

Floris Wortelboer then scored the only goal shortly before half-time in a tight match against GB men.

Both Great Britain sides face the Netherlands again on Thursday, before another double-header against Belgium on 31 October and 1 November.

Two home fixtures against Germany are scheduled for November.


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