Black Friday 2021: three key trends for retailers to win big

What should sellers expect?

This year has flown by at alarming speed, and somehow we are already reaching the key annual retail milestone that is Black Friday. However, with the coronavirus pandemic still impacting consumer behaviours, what trends and opportunities could we expect to see this year?

Read on for three key trends we expect to see this Black Friday 2021, and how sellers can make sure it’s a success.

A festive focus this Black Friday

With people planning on starting and finishing their festive shopping earlier this year and worries around ongoing supply chain disruption making organisation more crucial than ever, retailers could expect to see an even bigger surge of people complete their Christmas shopping this Black Friday. Indeed, our research found that 41% of people giving gifts this year plan to have their Christmas shopping entirely wrapped up before December even starts (up from 25% in 2020).[1]

And as people have reported feeling more hopeful about this Christmas – after lockdowns dampened celebrations last year – this Black Friday we expect to see festive preparations higher than ever on consumers’ priority lists.

Looking to Black Friday 2021, here are some of the festive categories that performed best in 2020 – and could guide sellers on where to focus attention this time round. In November 2020:

  • A whopping 2.5 million seasonal decorations were sold on eBay, up 87% year on year.[2]
  • Sales in the ‘gift wrapping and supplies’ category were 116% higher than in October, and remained 95% higher than sales in December. [2]
  • The ‘cards and invitations’ category also saw a similar increase – in November 2020, sales here were 101% higher than October, and 67% higher than December. [2]

Big spend set for homeware

Over the past few years, Black Friday has evolved in the UK from focussing mainly on tech deals to becoming a cross-category event, with fashion, beauty and appliance brands – and more – jumping on the bandwagon.

eBay data from 2020 shows uplifts in purchases across the Furniture and Homeware category in November, suggesting that people are increasingly using Black Friday as an opportunity to get bargains on big-ticket items for the home. In November 2020, over 850,000 items of furniture were sold on (up 44% year-on-year), including chairs – with sales up 40% compared to the previous month, and dressing tables – which saw a 42% increase in sales in the same timeframe. [2]

Across the UK, Black Friday spend on homeware doubled last year – to over £93 average spend – highlighting a significant amount of spend that may be up for grabs for brands this time around.[3]

Serious intent for sustainable shopping

Sustainability is a growing priority for consumers – now more than ever due to mounting attention around the climate crisis. Therefore, this Black Friday, we expect to see sustainable purchases high on consumers’ agendas.

Consumers shopping for toys shows one area where more sustainability is desired. 38.8% of Brits polled by GlobalData said that they gravitate towards toy retailers that place a greater emphasis on sustainability, with 80% saying that they are willing to pay more for a toy that has higher sustainability credentials.[4] Meanwhile, 63% claim that high plastic content has put them off completing a toy purchase – highlighting the potential for brands to lose out this peak season if they fail to create and showcase more eco-friendly products.[3]

As part of the move towards more sustainable shopping, we’re also seeing increased interest in second hand and refurbished items – and Kumaran Adithyan, eBay UK Trading Director / General Manager B2C predicted that the demand for refurbished goods will remain high this Black Friday. Second-hand sellers should be poised and ready to make the most of an increasing number of conscious consumers as Black Friday rolls around.

As much as we can lean on historic data and consumer insights to help us understand where opportunities lie this Black Friday, we also know that consumers are unpredictable. In order to ensure they’re ready to react to whatever the nation sets their sights on this Black Friday, sellers should tap into the freshest data, and be ready to flex their campaigns – and make a success of this major retail moment.

[1] eBay Ads Christmas spends trend report 2021

[2] eBay UK internal data, Jan – Dec 2020

[3] Global data Retail Occasions Series: Black Friday 2020

[4] Global data Retail Occasions Series: UK Christmas 2020