Until recently, Thanksgiving meant next to nothing in Spain. But now, for better or for worse, it has become the eve of Black Friday. Hailed by retailers as the start of the Christmas shopping season, it is also a good excuse for shops to get rid of excess inventory while encouraging consumers to part with their money through hefty discounts.
Electronics will be this year's most sought-after goods this year. The online guide BestBlackFriday.com says there will discounts of up to €137 on tablets, gift checks of around €230 for buying high-end smartphones, computers for little more than €80, 13-inch MacBook Air models for €590 and 50-inch premium 4K television sets for €273. The average estimated discount for 2016 is around 38.4%.
This year, Spain is expecting a 20% rise in participating stores
Although the sales have already begun in some stores, the biggest discounts can be expected Friday through Monday, which has been dubbed Cyber Monday.
In the US, online sales are expected to be in excess of €4.6 billion, says BestBlackFriday.com. If so, it will be a nearly 16% rise from 2015. The rise in online sales contrasts with a 10% contraction in physical store sales, down to €9.8 billion.
What about Spain?
The Spanish Commerce Confederation (CEC) says that Black Friday is now an established event in Spain, and that “it restores the traditional concept of sale season.”
This success is credited for a 4.2% spike in retail sales in November 2015. The rise “was very likely caused by the reactivation of consumption through the celebration of Black Friday in our country, which outperformed initial expectations,” says the CEC.
This year, the industry is expecting a 20% rise in participating stores, to reach a total of around 1,200. This figure also includes online sellers, which feature prominently in the Black Friday campaign.
The Spanish Association of the Digital Economy (Adigital) notes: “Black Friday and Cyber Monday are two highly relevant moments for global commerce and they are becoming increasingly important for e-trade in our country.”
Discounts in stores appear to be bigger with each passing year. In 2014 they were around 33%, while last year they averaged 42%. Estimates for this year are in the range of 50%, mirroring discount rates in other countries with a longer tradition of Black Friday.
“The main reasons are the approximation of the sale prices to the production costs, and the narrow margin for price reduction in some stores,” said a representative for Black-friday.sale. “In fact, in many cases the marketing costs have already been surpassed.”
In the US, online sales are expected to be in excess of €4.6 billion
As for online sales, Black-friday.sale expects virtual retailers to set discounts at around 55%, a figure they can better afford due to their lower fixed costs. Electronic goods will have the biggest markdowns, followed by fashion with average discounts of 35%, travel (30%), sports apparel (25%) and beauty and health products (15%).
Buyers are expected to spend an average €120, representing a €11 rise from last year.
Trends on Google
Spanish consumers’ interest in Black Friday sales is on the rise, judging by online search trends, according to Google. Searches using the key words Black Friday and Cyber Monday grew 127% in 2015 compared with 2014.
English version by Susana Urra.