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COVID fails to curb Black Friday excitement in Hungary

While last year only one in every three people bought something off the shelves around Black Friday, this year - despite the uncertain economic conditions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic - half of the population plans on doing so, according to research by  Reacty Digital and LogiNet.

According to the survey, there is practically no one in Hungary who hasn’t heard of Black Friday; however, while last year 66% of the population wasn’t interested in the sales and didn’t go shopping, this year the rate of those uninterested dropped to 49%.

More than half of the survey participants plan to take advantage of Black Friday discounts either online or in-store. Last year, 6% of participants decided on the in-store shopping experience - but this year that number may grow to 8% of shoppers who will wear masks and physically go off to stores, the research notes.

The popularity of Black Friday persists online as well, as one out of five of those surveyed plans to shop online while one out of four will shop both online and offline in the hunt for discounts this year.

A significant dividing factor between online and offline shoppers is their tolerance of crowds. From the participants who prefer shopping online, 62% are distinctly bothered by crowds; while only half of the in-store shoppers feel this way, LogiNet and Reacty Digital’s study says.  

Pandemicʼs economic consequences hardly felt in planned spending

It seems that, despite COVID, we will be spending quite freely in the heat of Black Friday shopping: altogether, shoppers plan to spend only HUF 2,000 less than the previous two year’s averages. Discount-hunters count on spending around HUF 40,000 this year.

The popularity of fashion items hasn’t changed (36%) but at the same time, the categories of toys (27%), consumer electronics (26%), mobile phones (25%), interior design (24%), home appliances (23%), and hotel reservations (22%) will also prevalently find their way into shopping carts.

Products related to health and wellness have grown the most in popularity: compared to 2018, 9% more, or, 23% overall of those surveyed stated they would purchase a wellness-related present this holiday season. This is probably strongly connected to the coronavirus pandemic and the consequently increasing health-conscious decisions.

Customers glad about multiple day discounts

For years now, the growing trend has emerged for Black Friday sales to last not just that one day, but rather for days, weeks - or even until Christmas in some cases. Half of shoppers (49%) are especially pleased to be able to avoid the “everything-in-one-day” stress. Continuous promotions for longer periods of time are also necessary because not all shoppers know exactly when stores announce their Black Friday sales.

In order to find the best deals, price-comparison websites have long been popular tools among shoppers. According to Reacty Digital and LogiNet’s e-commerce study, prior to clicking “buy”, three-fourths of online shoppers first compare product prices and check other sites as well.

Though some are enticed by the size of the discount, others favor their preferred brands. This has become a well-established, evident trend by 2020: shoppers want to buy from familiar sources. Only one in every five participants identified the discount amount as the main purchasing priority.

Given the increased online traffic this year delays and stock shortages can be anticipated, the research notes. One-third of shoppers noted limited product volume last year. From the customers’ perspective, however, it is encouraging that from 2018 to 2019 the number of late package arrivals did not change (around one-fifth of participants) despite the increasing online traffic and deliveries.

In 2019, 14% of respondents were disappointed by their Black Friday purchase. Aside from late deliveries and stock shortages, shoppers identified a lack of price savings; oftentimes, a purchase may have seemed to be a great deal, but in reality, it could be found for the same or even cheaper price somewhere else.

Discounts deemed too big may also cause businesses to slip up: Reacty Digital’s similar study from last year found that three-fourths of shoppers found discounts above 50% to be too good to be true. This year though, half of those surveyed don’t consider the season’s sales good enough.

The research notes that a product half-off might look suspicious for the customers, while a small discount might not be attractive enough to attract buyers.

Zsigmond Máriás, LogiNet Systems Kft. CEO, says "This isn’t the first Black Friday in e-commerce - both customers and businesses already have experience. Shoppers use their accumulated knowledge to make a decision; this is the time for webshops to implement these experiences as well. Online shops should prepare for this promotional period with improved performance, strategic resource management and testing ahead of time."