Are Boxing Day Sales a Thing of the Past?

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With Black Friday now ubiquitous in the retail calendar, and sales popping up all year round, Boxing Day is not the only opportunity for brands and stores to maximise customer spending.

In years gone by, customers would have waited until shops opened their doors to crowds early on Boxing Day morning, having camped through the night to pounce on the best bargains in person. Today, online shopping has provided a way for brands to trickle out discounts on Boxing Day, Christmas Day, and even earlier.

So are Boxing Day sales still as relevant and competitive as they once were?

Predictions for this year by retail analysts vary dramatically across the board, with some believing that retailers have started their sales too early and will likely see a staggering anti-climax once Boxing Day arrives. Meanwhile, other experts forecast that the strengthening economy will result in the biggest ever sales for retailers over the festive season.

It’s clear that some retailers across the UK remain firm believers in the end of year tradition, with many already announcing mega discounts for the 26th December spending spree.

In addition, Black Friday for many stores wasn’t as profitable as it had been hoped, as backed up by our survey with Retail Design World in November. So, expectations may be high for the more traditional sales periods to compensate for where earlier price drops failed.

But some experts anticipate shoppers may hang on for the next sale – given the likelihood that discounts pop up so regularly throughout the year. Instead, spending may be reduced on Boxing Day and spread more thinly throughout the year.

Retailers will have already thought about the best ways to manage Boxing Day sales (or discounting events all year round, for that matter). Store layouts should be appropriately designed, perhaps using Tensabarriers, to reduce queuing frustration, and carefully signposted in order to funnel shoppers to purchase points. Adequate thought to in-queue merchandising is also crucial, enabling shoppers to impulse buy and increase sales.

Last year, almost £3 billion was spent in stores across the UK over Christmas – a staggering total considering the rise of the online marketplace. Whether this Boxing Day in 2015 looks set to be popular remains to be seen, but either way, retailers need to be prepared for queues, to keep their customers happy and most importantly, safe.

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