Black Friday and Cyber Monday: A review of the retail climate

The data is in from the Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping weekend extravaganza and while consumers headed out to get themselves a bargain, retailers took an interesting approach this time round.

Heavy discounts are a thing of the past

Instead of huge discounts UK fashion retailers actually hung back on severe discounting to protect sales margins and profitability. Oasis, John Lewis & Asda all said they would cut back on last year and they did. Most retailers stuck to a standard 20% blanket discount. E-tailer ASOS, for example, offered 20% for the weekend, a similar discount to their one-off promotions.

It was a similar situation in the U.S. Overall the discounts by US retailers were much more subtle as they attempt to condition shoppers to value full price products after discounting for so long. Retailer Express for example, reduced items to 80.7% vs 100% last year– protecting higher priced items like coats and jackets.

WGSN_UK proportion of md by category_GRAPH v2

Also, most notably Gap in attempt to reverse its lackluster fate only dropped 26.5% of its products in markdown vs 47.2% in 2014. This speaks to the fact that as a retailer it maybe finally learning from its mistakes and pushing the quality and value of its products at full price – or at least focusing on protecting profitability.

The maxi boho dress and the tale of markdowns

That said, there were some garments that were pushed by retailers in a bid to get them off the shop floor. This was the fate of the boho maxi dress, a key sub category that WGSN Instock data predicted would be reduced, which ended up being marked down at 53.3% vs the dress average markdown 47.3%. The reason? The floaty, lightweight garment is very unpractical for the current rainy weather in the UK.

Lingerie still premium 

Knickers or pants, it doesn’t matter what you call them, on both sides of the Atlantic underwear and lingerie remained strong sellers. In the US, lingerie, sleepwear and jeans had the lowest mark down levels with 21.6, 29.9% and 33.6%, respectively. While in the UK, lingerie, coats and jeans were the categories with lower markdown levels with 28.3%, 34.0% and 34.6%, respectively.

Saturday discounts ruled in the US

Forget Black Friday, in the U.S. Saturday continued the tradition of being the day with the most amount of discounted products vs Friday in the UK. While in the UK, fashion players were in a much better place than they were last year where they were caught on the backfoot by the strength of the marketing around the event.

WGSN_UK markdown products v2-GRAPH

WGSN_US markdown products v2_GRAPH

NEED DATA? If you’re a buyer, planner or just a fashion geek who wants to know exactly what’s trending at retail in every category – WGSN INstock is going to make you ridiculously happy. Find out more here.



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