The Black Friday 2016 weekend is forecast to generate sales of £2.9 billion, a 38 percent increase on last year, with 27 percent of adults in the UK expected to make a purchase and the average spend per shopper almost doubling to £203 (PwC).
A survey conducted by Periscope (McKinsey) also forecasts that more shoppers will shop online this Black Friday weekend to avoid the stress of shopping in-store. In 2015, 33 percent of the UK respondents planned to shop online and this has since risen to 42 percent in 2016.
Amazon was the first retailer to bring the shopping event to the UK and has traditionally led the pack, citing Black Friday 2015 as its biggest sales day ever. In light of the fact that Amazon has dominated Black Friday sales to-date, rivals must do their utmost to drive traffic to their websites and offer detailed and accurate product content to convert browsers into shoppers.
Brand View has analysed the online product content of three categories which are heavily promoted on Black Friday – Laptops, Televisions and Headphones – across a range of retailers to see which brands or retailers have inadequate and uncompetitive product content.
Laptop promotions featured prominently on Black Friday and Cyber Monday in most retailers last year. This year, following the recent release of the new MacBook Pro models, older versions of the Apple MacBook are expected to be discounted on Black Friday.
Despite this, Apple had the lowest average number of images per listing in three of the four retailers analysed. In addition, none of its MacBook listings on the Argos, John Lewis or Currys websites had a product video. Apple product listings were best represented on the Currys website – the brand should consider at least replicating this content on the Argos, John Lewis and Very websites to improve the quality of its product listings.
HP performed best of the brands analysed. It had the greatest average number of images per listing on the Argos, Currys and John Lewis websites. HP also had the greatest percentage of its laptop range with product videos in Argos, John Lewis and Very. On the John Lewis website the HP ENVY 15-as002na Laptop in Natural Silver was the brand’s only laptop listing without a product video.
When reviewing the product content by retailer, John Lewis had the greatest average number of images per product listing, but the lowest percentage of range with product videos. Very had the lowest average number of images per listing, but the second highest percentage of range with a product video (38.8 percent) behind Currys (43.1 percent).
Televisions often feature in retailers’ headline Black Friday deals as the shopping weekend presents them with an opportunity to clear old stock.
Last year Argos and Currys both had headline deals on Samsung televisions across the Black Friday weekend and the brand will likely be promoted prominently this year. However, Samsung had the lowest average number of images in three of the retailers analysed and the lowest percentage of range with videos in four retailers.
Less than 20 percent of the brands’ television range on the Argos and Very websites had a product video. All of the remaining brands analysed had at least 40 percent of their range with a product video in all of the retailers they were listed in.
Sony and Panasonic had the greatest average number of product images across the five retailers. Panasonic had the greatest number of images on the Argos and Ao.com websites, whereas Sony had the greatest on Currys and John Lewis. LG had the greatest average number of images per listing on the Very website, just ahead of Sony.
There was less competition between the two brands when looking at product videos as Sony excelled at including product videos on its television listings. Its worst performance was on the Argos website, with only 16.7 percent of listings without a product video. Although this was its worst percentage, it was still better than LG’s and Samsung’s percentage of videos in any of the retailers analysed and better than Panasonic in all retailers except Ao.com.
Sony had the most comprehensive image and video content of the manufacturers analysed and Ao.com had the best content of the retailers analysed. Ao.com had an average of 8.7 images per product listing, ahead of John Lewis with 8.2 images. Ao.com also had the greatest percentage of range with product videos at 79.3 percent.
Very performed badly for product images again – it had the lowest average number of images per listing and in the Television category it also had the lowest percentage of range with product videos.
Headphones by brands such as Beats by Dre, Bose and Sony were all promoted on retailers’ headline deals last year. The release of the iPhone 7 in September 2016, which has no headphone jack, could lead to significant promotion of wireless headphones this Black Friday weekend.
As with the Television category, Sony had the greatest average percentage of its headphone range with product videos at 50.7 percent, just ahead of Bose with 48.7 percent. Some 90 percent of the brand’s headphone range on the Very website had a product video, but none of the brand’s listings had a product video on the Tesco Direct website.
Beats By Dr Dre and Skullcandy had no product videos on the Tesco Direct website. Skullcandy also had no product videos on the Very website which contributed to it having the lowest percentage of range with product videos across the retailers analysed.
Beats by Dr Dre had the greatest average number of images per product listing across the retailers analysed. Its rivals were impacted by a lower number of product images in different retailers. Sony had a low average number of images on the Tesco Direct website; Skullcandy had the same issue on the Argos website and Bose had the lowest average number of images on the Very website.
However it was Sennheiser that the lowest average number of images per listing across the retailers analysed due to poor performance on the Currys, John Lewis and Very websites.
Very, once again, had the lowest average number of images per product listing, however it was not far behind Currys. Tesco Direct had the lowest percentage of range with product videos – three of the four brands analysed that were listed in the retailer did not have any product videos.
According to Retailer Web Services, some 97.7 percent of shoppers expect retailers to show comprehensive, quality product data. Very should look to improve its product content as it consistently had a lower number of product images per listing than its rivals.
Product videos are also a key part of a comprehensive product listings in technology categories, such as Laptops and Televisions. According to a survey by Animoto, some 73 percent of adults are more likely to purchase an item if it had a product video.
John Lewis did include a significant number of product images on its listings in the categories analysed, however it had far fewer when compared to its rivals’ percentage of range with product videos.
Brands should work with these retailers to ensure their products are accurately and attractively represented on all retail partners’ sites. Brand View has identified Apple (MacBooks) and Samsung (Televisions) as lagging behind their rivals in terms of compelling product content. These brands are sure to feature in headline deals on Black Friday and they should ensure those promoted products have sufficient product content so that shoppers are not tempted to purchase deals from rival brands.
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