Berlin – Black Friday is an important shopping event in Germany for the brands we represent here at FSG. Why? For some of those brands, revenue on this day increases up to 5 times, and incremental turnover increases, too.  FSG’s business intelligence & data quality manager Juan Camilo Garzon explains why, for your brand, Black Friday in Germany is an event not to be missed.

Do we as FSG advice our clients to join the Black Friday shopping event in Germany? The answer is a firm ‘yes’. ‘Black Friday (this coming Friday, November 23rd), Cyber Monday (November 26th) and the days in between have huge impact on a brand’s turnover’, explains Juan, who is our Data Quality and Business Intelligence manager here at FSG. ‘When we compare Black Friday results with an average Friday, you can see that revenue increases up to five times.’

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Also, traffic increases strongly, according to Juans Black Friday 2017 numbers. For some brands, we see three times the traffic compared to an average Friday. Also, says Juan, the conversion rate on Black Friday goes up. We see that visitors are more likely to buy something because it’s Black Friday.’

We do hear people state sometimes that Black Friday doesn’t really do anything for your revenue after all. Those same people say Black Friday just makes your turnover shift to one particular day or weekend because customers don’t buy as much in the weeks before and after Black Friday. That is not the case for the clients we represent in Germany. Their total six month turnover in many cases increased with as much as 30 percent thanks to Black Friday. Juan: ‘On Black Friday, brands have the opportunity to reach out to potential new customers. The number of new customers we see is quite significant. Next to that, loyal existing customers visit your website on Black Friday, too, because they feel like buying themselves a little something extra, for example a new pair of shoes.’ This doesn’t mean regular turnover decreases. At least not when you offer your customers a wide variety of products in your webshop.

All together, total turnover increases over six months when you offer Black Friday promotions in your webshop. But does this also mean customers buy more than average on Black Friday? ‘That depends on what you sell’, says Juan. Customers don’t suddenly buy ten pairs of shoes. But they do tend to buy smaller goods because these are on sale. It obviously depends on what kind of products you offer online, and what they cost. Juan: ‘Also keep in mind that the average order value might change thanks to a discount event like Black Friday.’

The German e-commerce market differs from the traditional retail setup (two new yearly collections, two sales moments after that). In Germany, there are many online shopping events that have huge following, like Glamour Shopping Week and Brigitte Shopping Days. We at FSG don’t recommend our brands to join all these shopping events. ‘That might hurt your image’, says Yvonne Zermin, who is one of our country managers. ‘When you choose to join big discount events, choose wisely. Make sure the event fits your specialty. Also keep in mind that having your own discount promotions on top of joining a large shopping event, might not benefit your image.’

Organizing a shopping event like Black Friday on another day in your own webshop, is not easy. Juan: ‘This might be convenient for your existing customers, however you won’t reach out to new potential customers as easily as on Black Friday. All the big brands have impressive promotions that will last for days. This is another reason why Black Friday has big impact in Germany.’

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Black Friday: where does it come from?

Black Friday exists in the United States since 1961. Apple introduced Black Friday to German customers in 2006, when the tech company from California offered a discount on all iPods on this day only. However, Apple did not call its promotion Black Friday, since they reckoned nobody in Germany knew this day anyway. Meanwhile, Black Friday has gained popularity in Germany – ‘Black Friday’ now is a registered trademark. A company based in Hong Kong registered the name ‘Black Friday’ and, according to this article in Süddeutsche Zeitung from 2016, sends out impressive bills with amounts anywhere between 10.000 and 100.000 euro to German companies who use ‘Black Friday’ without permission. Many German companies have thus changed the name of their event. Media Markt calls Black Friday Red Friday. Douglas says ‘Beauty Friday Sale’. ‘We also came up with new names for our clients’, says Yvonne.

41 million Germans buy goods online; 4 million of them bought something on Black Friday in 2017. Total revenue in 2016 for Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the days in between: 1.7 billion euros (source: Nearly 300 brands in Germany joined the big shopping event in 2017. Many brands don’t have promotions on Black Friday only, they expand the shopping day into a seven day event. In 2017, Nike offered a 40 percent discount on their popular Jordan Retro Nikes on Black Friday. Samsung had a buy one – get one free promotion for their Samsung A5 and Samsung A3. Amazon Germany offered different promotions hourly. Clothing brand Guess gave a 20 percent discount on their entire collection.

Black Friday is not the online discount event in November in Germany. The Chinese discount day Singles Day, on November 11th every year, is gaining popularity here, too. In China, Alibaba booked a stunning revenue of 25 billion euro on Singles Day alone in 2018. In Germany, companies like Lidl, Douglas and Otto offered online promotions on Singles Day.

Black Friday originates in the United States. Some people believe Black Friday was invented by a department store in Dallas that decided to promote their products by giving discounts. Others say Black Friday first appeared in Philadelphia. Black Friday is the day after the popular American Holiday Thanksgiving. In 2017, online sales revenue in the US on Black Friday amounted to 2.36 billion US dollars (63 billion US dollars in November and December together).