Black Friday falls short of record year 2020

6. December 2021 (in Deutsch / en Francais)

As in previous years, Black Friday heralds the beginning of Christmas shopping season. Looking at the figures from Monitoring Consumption Switzerland, this is particularly evident in the merchant category «Retail: Other Goods»: Compared to the previous week, sales soared by a strong 51% to 621MCHF, reaching the highest level this year. On Friday, November 26, sales were 2.45 times the level of the previous Friday (167 MCHF vs. 68 MCHF). The numbers include payments with credit cards, debit cards and mobile payments at the point-of-sale as well as in e-commerce.

However, compared to 2020 (Friday 27.11.2020 = 176 MCHF), Black Friday sales are somewhat weaker this year (-5%, see figure 1). This decline contrasts with a 4% increase in sales across all days in November 2021 before Black Friday compared to the same period in November 2020.

Figure 1: Daily sales in non-food retail with payment cards (debit/credit cards) and mobile payments, November 2021 and 2020.

Similar to last year, Black Friday 2021 also boasts strong sales in e-commerce. As such, the share of e-commerce in the «Retail: Other Goods» category increases to 27% on Friday, November 26, 2021, compared to 11% the previous week. Yet, e-commerce sales on Black Friday dropped significantly year-over-year (2021: 45 MCHF; 2020: 56 MCHF). In contrast, sales at the point-of-sale remained stable. 

How can the decline in e-commerce sales on Black Friday compared to last year be explained? Both the demand side and supply side drivers are plausible. On the demand side, it is conceivable that consumers plan to shop in stores this year due to the changed conditions of the pandemic and therefore made less use of online offers on Black Friday. On the supply side, supply-chain constraints may have led to less attractive Black Friday E-commerce offers compared to previous years. 

Finally, however, it is also conceivable that the observed change in «Retail: Other Goods (E-commerce)» sales is due to shifts in the way retailers are recorded in our data.