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Monday, 25 January 2016 | By Gerry Mulvaney


By Gerry Mulvaney, European Sales Manager, Landa Digital Printing

We have seen a number of successful US imports into Europe over the years – Halloween, School Proms, Thanksgiving and Disneyland amongst them, but one of the more recent imports, Black Friday has got off to a stuttering start.

This American tradition has its roots in a move by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to shift the Thanksgiving holiday back one week in 1939 in order to stimulate retail sales before Christmas. But with Christmas cards and decorations in the shops in October in the UK it would seem a rather unnecessary import.

However ASDA, the UK arm of US retail giant Walmart, introduced the practice to the UK in 2013 accompanied by a fanfare of publicity. After an initially slow start it was picked up by other major retailers like John Lewis and Marks & Spencer. In 2014 it turned into a bit of a PR disaster for many retailers as crowds of shoppers queued all night in many cases, and fought each other in-store to grab the TV, computer, electrical and fashion bargains. Police officers were called to the scene of a number of the disturbances and there were fears for a repetition in 2015 when the Black Friday offers were announced.

Black Friday mayhem scenes in UK store

Black Friday Mayhem at the UK Asda store

In fact Black Friday turned out to be a rather grey one and it wasn’t just the weather on the day. Despite huge pre-event publicity virtually all the retailers reported a reduction in the number of visitors to their stores.

Perhaps the mayhem of 2014 had put many people off. I know that Mrs Mulvaney had no intention of venturing to a local mall and putting up with the crush for some bargain Christmas presents.

There was another reason, apart from the potential unpleasant shopping experience of the previous year; she had already completed most of her Christmas shopping on the Internet and with a combination of Amazon Prime and “click and collect” at a time to suit her, Black Friday was spent enjoying a relaxed lunch with friends – similarly minded retail therapists.

According to Wells Fargo Securities, in 2002 Walmart was responsible for 25% of American retail sales growth. In the last three years it has dropped to less than 10%. By contrast, from a start of less than 5% in 2002, Amazon now accounts for nearly 40% of growth. Internet retailing is here to stay.

Graph of rising trend in Internet retail

In 2015, retail e-commerce sales worldwide amounted to 1.67 trillion US dollars
and are projected to grow to 3.55 trillion US dollars in 2019.

Creative Print Providers Will Find New Opportunities among the New Retail Trends

For us in the printing and packaging industry that should be good news. Retailers and brands are going to have to be more innovative and inventive to entice consumers to part with their cash and printed media and packaging will form part of that offering.

Printers and packaging converters will be able to use new technology, like Benny Landa’s Nanography® process to provide more targeted point of sale (POS), direct mailing and versioned packaging to provide more selling opportunities for their customers. Black Friday might be the turning point in the retailers’ fight back.

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Landa S10 - Printing Press