News & Views - Savantor

Difficulties of payment trend forecasting

Monday, 09 November 2015
This year ‘Black Friday’ less than lived up to the hype and predictions based on the events of last year – in terms of customer footfall. Many shops were taken by surprise by the lack of customers, in some cases dropping below the numbers expected on a normal Friday. However, it was quite a different story in terms of online shopping and payments. Initial estimates indicate that for the first time ever, online sales in the UK exceeded £1billion in a single day, reaching £1.1billion, an increase of 36 percent over last year. Many customers preferred to do their shopping and obtain the best bargains they could from the comfort of their own homes. The record online sales figures for the day were achieved in spite of many retailers spreading their bargains and discounts over several days or even the whole week in an attempt to avoid the shopping frenzy which accompanied some of last year’s promotional sales. Key retailers such as Amazon, John Lewis and Dixons Carphone all reported Friday as being their biggest-ever single day's trade. The preference for online shopping on Black Friday continues the trend this year for the increase in popularity of online payments. According to the latest figures from The UK Cards Association, the number of card transactions made on the internet has increased by 20 per cent in the past year. Overall the figures show that more than a fifth (22.4 per cent) of all card spending is now online. The knock-on effects of this trend continue to require retailers to develop and manage their operations to provide the necessary infrastructure to support the online phenomenon: robust websites; satisfactory order fulfilment, dispatch and delivery; the retail processes to manage click and collect orders as well as any subsequent returns. Several large Retailers including Argos, John Lewis and Tesco experienced problems with their websites in spite of significant planning and investment. Many also relaxed their normal delivery timescale promises in order to handle the extra demand. As ever the payments industry continues to evolve and as ‘Black Friday’ has proved, trends and developments are not always easy to forecast accurately.
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