High-street reacting to online promotions: PwC Report

Published at 00:01 AM on 16 December 2016

For the last six years, PwC has collected data in November and December on promotions available in the shop windows and on the homepages of leading department and chain stores across the UK high streets.

This year our research shows that, at any one point over the last four weeks, only 15% of retailers did not engage in any promotional activity (versus c.30% last year). Not surprisingly, this year’s promotional activity was heavily focused in the week of Black Friday (25 November). During that week, 74% of retailers offered in-store discounts – more than in any other week since the survey began in 2011.

As in 2015, promotional activity appears to be primarily focused online. Almost 90% of retailers’ websites featured promotions in Black Friday week versus 74% in store.

Commenting on the data, Lisa Hooker, retail & consumer partner at PwC said:

“Retailers typically try to spread promotional activity to reduce pressures on stores and online fulfilment. Indeed, over the last five years, the number of retailers on promotion has slowly increased in the weeks following Black Friday.

“This year, however, our research shows that one in four retailers on promotion during Black Friday week returned to full price sales the following week. This suggests that some retailers are being more strategic with promotions, carefully planning in order to preserve margin over the critical festive period.

“It has been interesting to see this year how retailers across the UK high streets and online have been adapting to the growing influence of the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. Our research shows the majority of retailers we collected data from acknowledged Black Friday and proactively promoted sales around the event; many for up to a fortnight.

“High street retailers are having to adapt their promotions to the rise of online shopping and in a recent survey conducted for PwC, over half (53%) of participants said they would make their purchases online this Christmas, compared to 43% in store.

“It is also interesting to see how retailers are responding to challenges, tactically increasing promotions at different times and in different channels to drive footfall and to protect margin over the festive period”


Notes to editors:

About the data:

High-street data was collected across central London high-streets from Monday 21st November 2016, and was collected each following Monday until Monday 12th December 2016.

The online data was collected on the same dates by the PwC retail & consumer team based in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

This was collected as part of PwC's Christmas trading report which will be published in January 2017.

For more information please contact Stephen Young: [email protected]/07789808745


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