Two thirds of retailers expect a drop in Black Friday peak, Advanced Supply Chain reports


86% of retailers think COVID-19 will affect peaks such as Black Friday and Christmas, with two thirds (66%) of these thinking that changes will be negative.

This is according to new research from global logistics company Advanced Supply Chain Group, which interviewed 200 senior retail professionals.

Of the retailers who think the pandemic will negatively impact peak Black Friday and Christmas sales, 38% believe this will be due to sales spikes during the first national lockdown.

The research, commissioned to understand how COVID-19 and lockdown have affected retail supply chains, shows that eight in ten (83%) retailers experienced increased demand for products during the first lockdown.

Managing director of Advanced Supply Chain Group, Claire Webb, comments: “Adjusting to working from home and beating lockdown fatigue saw unusual sales spikes in the Spring and Summer. Retailers believe consumers may have already bought the big-ticket items they’d usually splash-out on during traditional peaks, and that this could mean lower sales around Black Friday and Christmas.”

Data from the research also shows that 28% of retailers think peak Black Friday and Christmas sales will be down because of economic uncertainty and low consumer confidence.

Whilst two thirds of retailers think coronavirus will negatively affect sales during traditional peak periods, a third (34%) believe that frustration amongst shoppers and pent-up consumer spend will actually see a spike in sales around Black Friday and Christmas.

Claire Webb adds: “Retailers are responding to changing peaks and troughs by increasing routes to market. 

“42% of retailers are looking to increase sales by selling via more channels. They’re really sweating the value of stock during the peaks and aiming to reach an increasing number of customers at all other times to maintain a consistent flow of sales.”

According to the research, the biggest challenge now facing retailers is balancing stock flow against stock piling. This is something a third of retailers (30%) are looking to tackle and are investing in smart, connected technology to increase the accuracy and visibility of stock inventory management and to make supply chains more resilient.

Webb concludes: “34% of retailers were unable to fully capitalise on spikes in demand during the first national lockdown because they didn’t have enough stock. The cost of these missed sales is made worse by unavailable goods eroding consumer loyalty. People will soon repeatedly shop elsewhere if retailers can’t consistently meet demand. Retailers are meeting this challenge with sophisticated supply chain software that gives them a constantly updating and pinpoint accurate picture of stock inventory management.”

About the research: SAPIO Research surveyed 200 senior retail professionals for ASCG in October 2020 to determine key trends reshaping retail supply chains following the widespread disruption of COVID-19.