Black Friday booming according to data visualization

By Eshan Wickrema and Lachlan James

Swarms of agitated, bleary-eyed consumerists stand shoulder-to-shoulder in front of padlocked stores as the sun creeps over the horizon. They wait.

Disinterested shop attendants begrudgingly unlock the doors as the bargain-crazed hoards burst into the stores, forgoing courtesy and commonsense for the chance of meager commercial gain. Yes; it’s Black Friday again.

But, is Black Friday still the madness that the media makes it out to be? Let’s use Business Intelligence software and data visualization to find out.

Total and per person spending on Black Friday over time (UK)



  • In the past three years there has been an increase in both total spend and spend per person on Black Friday in the UK
    • Total spend has increased from £200 million in 2012, £692.31 million in 2013, and £810 million in 2014
    • Spending per person rose from £21.95 in 2012, to £75.95 in 2013, reaching £88.86 in 2014

Shopping bill lives up to hype

According to the sales figures from the last three years, retailers and consumers have embraced Black Friday with increasing passion. 2014 sales (£810 million) comfortably dwarfed 2013’s figures (£692.31 million) and made a mockery of total takings from 2012 (£200 million).

Growth in sales has been primarily driven by increased spend per customer, with the average UK Black Friday shopper spending £88.86 in 2014, up from £75.95 in 2013 and £21.95 in 2012.

So how does the Black Friday frenzy stack up against the UK’s other big sales events of the holiday season?

Consumer spending: Black Friday compared to other holiday sales events (UK)



  • In 2014, Black Friday attracted the most consumer spending in the UK (£810 million) compared to five other boisterously celebrated shopping events
    • Black Friday is predicated to beat all-comers once more in 2015, with retailers estimating consumer spending to crack the £1 billion mark (£1,007 million)
  • Cyber Monday was the next most popular shopping event on the 2014 UK calendar, which saw consumers part with £720 million
    • Cyber Monday is forecast to play second fiddle to Black Friday once more this year, though it is also estimated to experience the biggest jump in spend (£720 million – £943 million) compared to the five other major holiday sales events

Black Friday to remain top dog

Of the six major holiday sales events on the UK consumer calendar, Black Friday tugs at the purse strings hardest, with £810 million worth of sales in 2014. This figure is expected to surge forward this year, with consumer groups estimating the UK shopping faithful to surpass £1 billion in 2015.

Interestingly, the relatively new shopping phenomenon – known as ‘Cyber Monday’ – commands the second highest consumer spend, with shoppers outlaying some £720 million in 2014. This trend is set to continue in 2015, with Cyber Monday forecast to experience the largest increase in consumer spending (£720 million – £943 million) compared to the five other major holiday sales events.

So, having established the growing popularity of Black Friday sales in the UK, just how are people tracking down the best bargains?

Most popular Black Friday Google search terms (UK)



  • In the UK the term ‘UK Black Friday’ has the highest concentration of searches on Google
  • The second most searched term, ’Black Friday deals’, illustrates the demand for online products during Black Friday sales
  • The three most searched for brands in the UK associated with Black Friday are ‘Amazon’, ‘Tesco’ and ‘Argos’

Speaking of online search, many modern UK consumers are forgoing the old adage of ‘braving the crowds’, instead choosing to do their shopping online. So, if you’re so inclined, when is the best time to buy online on Black Friday?

Estimated 2015 Black Friday online spend per hour (UK)



  • It is predicted that there will be an average spend of £12,384.26 per second on online sales this Black Friday in the UK
  • The first nine hours of the day are forecast draw in £199.767 million worth of online sales
  • The hours between 6pm and 9pm are predicted to attract the largest volume of online sales compared to any other three-hour timeframe (£225.065 million)

Get up early or stay up late

If braving the online frenzy, it’s prudent to shop early or late. Online shopping is predicted to be busiest between 6pm and 9pm, with heightened risk of website meltdowns during that period.

It is predicted that this Black Friday will draw online revenues totaling £1.070 billion – the highest ever spent online in a single day in UK history.

But, whether you shop online or in store, remember this: It’s not worth dying for…

Black Friday related deaths and injuries: 2006 – 2014 (worldwide)



  • There have been a total of seven recorded deaths and 98 recorded injuries related to Black Friday shopping across the US and Europe since 2006
  • 2007 has been the safest year on record – the only year with zero reported deaths or injuries
  • 2008 was Black Friday’s deadliest year, with one death due to trampling and two shooting deaths (all in the US)
  • 2011 saw the highest injury count (46), where a total of 40 shoppers were injured due to pepper spray attacks

Keep it in perspective

While it’s okay to be excited to nab a bargain, let’s remember not to let that enthusiasm turn into careless single-mindedness or even anger.

Since 2006, a sobering seven deaths and 98 injuries have been reported as a direct result of worldwide Black Friday hysteria.

The good news for those in Europe?

All seven recorded deaths, and 95 of the 98 reported injuries, occurred in the US.

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