The new lockdown in Belgium means a 100% online Black Friday sales for retailers


We know that 2020 will have been a very particular year full of uncertainty. The Covid-19 pandemic has changed buying patterns and shifted consumer behaviour, which forces many retailers to rethink their strategies. While the Black Friday period is key for almost all retailers, they will need to put all efforts into their online strategy, as stores will remain closed for this year.

Increase in Belgian e-commerce

For the first time since 2009, physical retail sales are expected to decline significantly. However! Digital will be the source of growth.  In Belgium, we can see that during this pandemic, in-store visits in retail stores fell back dramatically. In the face of that, the large majority of sectors experienced a massive online growth acceleration, as e-commerce increased by +20% versus last year same period for many industries. In April we experienced this big online wave and projections are online sales will surge even more for the end-of-year period. We know that the coming holidays are an important share of the revenue of most retailers, and that they are approaching quickly.

Black Friday

The Black Friday weekend is just around the corner. Studies[1] show that in 2019, there was a 87% increase in Belgian e-commerce on Black Friday compared to a normal Friday and that Belgium is among the fastest growing and sizeable markets for consumer interest in Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Many of retailers think of Black Friday as essentially the kick-off date for the holiday shopping season, but did you know that consumers actually begin their shopping well before then? In fact, Black Friday interest starts to increase on October 20th and nearly 44% of Belgian shoppers waited for Black Friday before purchasing a product. That’s more than a full month ahead! On top of that, we can see that search interest around Black Friday has quadrupled over the last 4 years. Also, keep in mind that the Christmas craze on the web starts well before Black Friday, in Belgium. In fact, most Belgian shoppers start their Christmas shopping during November and find Black Friday to be the most important shopping event for Christmas. Furthermore, 75% of them stated they would love to buy more online for Christmas this year and 30% stated they want to do more online shopping in general, compared to 2019.

Given the new lockdown, Black Friday will be 100% online for this year, and most Christmas and other gifts will most probably be purchased online, as stores will remain closed. This means that online Black Friday promotions interest is expected to explode and sales opportunity will be huge for this year. Search interest is booming mainly for:

  • Occasions, jewelry and gifts
  • Apparel retail
  • Computer and consumer electronics
  • Beauty and personal care
  • Toys and games
  • Home and garden

Your holiday marketing strategy

So, in order to attract and convert these potential customers, we recommend to map out your 2020 holiday marketing strategy straight away. You don’t want to be scrambling at the end of November with fingers crossed that your last minute marketing strategy is going to perform. Instead, you want to be confident that your campaigns are about to make some serious conversions since you are using the ads that worked well all year round. But a strong, coherent cross-channel scenario which yields impressive results, requires planning and time. Plant the seed early on. Don’t directly talk about what your business is selling right away, but know your customer journey and build to it.

Our experts at Universem are ready to help you to get your digital marketing strategy ready for the holidays and all-year round. Don’t hesitate to contact us!

[1] Google Belgium Holiday Insights 2020