Black Friday is getting bigger

Black Friday is getting bigger

Black Friday (Friday 23 November) originated in the USA, but in recent years has become a phenomenon in the UK. Thanksgiving always falls on the last Thursday in November and the following Friday is often an unofficial holiday, and so retailers take advantage of the start of Christmas shopping by slashing their prices.

IMRG forecast for Black Friday 2018

  • £1.54bn to be spent online during Black Friday (+13.2% up on last year)
  • £8.1bn to be spent during peak activity (Black Friday week) (+12.5% up on last year)


It’s thought to date back to the 1950s in the USA, but became popular in the UK in 2014 when big retailers such as John Lewis jumped on the trend. The vast majority of UK retailers took part in Black Friday last year, and the amount spent on UK online retail sites in 2017 increased by 11.7% to £1.39bn, year on year according to IMRG. Research by McKinsey suggest that 92% of UK shoppers are aware of Black Friday and around half plan to at least browse, whether online or on the high street.

Cyber Monday

Cyber Monday (Monday 26 November) is essentially the online equivalent of Black Friday. It refers to the Monday after Thanksgiving in the USA, but has also become more and more popular in the UK. It is predominantly tech and electrical products that have their prices slashed, but the majority of big retailers in the UK take part in the online sale, including Amazon, John Lewis and eBay, therefore it’s a big opportunity for Click & Collect and of course, Returns.

According to Royal Mail’s latest report Delivery Matters, 72% would choose the Post Office, trusting their local branch as a suitable alternative to home delivery. Therefore this is an important opportunity to remind customers of services like Click & Collect, and also that they can Return their items at their local branch, too.

As with previous years, we would expect to see a significant uplift in returns in the days following Black Friday, and we want to make sure the Post Office is the number one place people choose to go. 2 out of 3 online shoppers say their preferred way to send back returns is through the Post Office, but we need to make sure it’s always an easy and convenient experience for them. The returns market is growing, and we want to ensure that we are best in class for this and all mails products and services.

Supporting your customers

Getting the basics right in collections and returns is key. We have published some resources from the recent Mails workshops to support you with tips and best practice to share with your teams. 

Here are some draft messages around Black Friday, which you can share on your own social media accounts to remind customers they can collect and return their shopping at your branch.