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Room for improvement in holiday e-tail - eNET

While both the Black Friday and Christmas shopping periods in 2018 could be considered commercially successful, there is still room for improvement and fine-tuning if companies want to achieve even better results in the future, according to internet research and consulting firm eNET.

Many Christmas online purchases were delivered late, which is slowly becoming the norm, says eNET.

In Hungary, turnover generated on Black Friday only (including online and offline transactions) came close to HUF 78 billion, while the total Christmas shopping period brought a trade volume of HUF 323 bln, according to eNET’s surveys conducted in December 2018 and January 2019.

One year earlier, Black Friday sales were estimated at HUF 60 bln, meaning that the volume increased by close to 30% over a year. The number of shoppers rose from 1.7 million in 2017, to 2 million last year. The internet research firm observes that it is a foregone conclusion that Black Friday now has a stable place in the calendar of shopping in Hungary; both distributors and webshops would do well to keep their eyes on this year’s Black Friday, it adds.

Significant growth could also be observed around the Christmas period, with about 400,000 more people purchasing Christmas presents (online and offline) in 2018 than a year before, with cart values growing as well. The growth meant that almost HUF 100 bln more was spent on Christmas presents than in 2017.

The survey by eNET notes that internet users have mixed feelings about Black Friday, and are divided over whether it is worth buying goods on that day. As many as 56% of internet users said they have occasionally felt cheated by Black Friday prices. Even so, about 39% think that the day of discounts offers a good opportunity to buy what they want.

The divisiveness of Black Friday is indicated by the 45% of respondents in the survey who said they dislike the hype around the event. However, only one in three internet users disliked the fact that Black Friday attempts to conquer Hungary by bringing in traditions from a different culture, in this case the U.S.

Among respondents who checked out special offers, a mere 27% found significant discounts, and 44% reported only moderate ones. On the other hand, 24% claimed negligible discounts, while 16% indicated that the “discounts” were not deducted from the last price of a product but from a previous (higher) price. These experiences can significantly deteriorate trust in Black Friday, eNET notes.

The research stresses that the services of Magyar Posta, the Hungarian post office, have started to prepare for the holiday season in a more careful way, especially after the big parcel delivery fiascos of 2016. Magyar Posta started introducing administrative limitations in order to shear off the Christmas spike in business, with e-retail shops supporting the measures.

However, late deliveries have still affected some 800- 900,000 online shoppers at the end of every year since 2016 (870,000 at the end of 2018). The survey notes that the delays are slowly becoming an accepted part of online shopping in Hungary, no longer prompting a serious media reaction. Even so, eNET observes, this problem still needs to be tackled in order to promote a better customer experience, and in turn stimulate further growth.