In Europe, Holiday Shopping Is Starting Early 

Black Friday has become the unofficial start of the Christmas shopping season

April 17, 2018

The holiday season, which eMarketer defines as November and December, is the most important retail period in nearly all major markets in Europe. Though the bulk of spending still takes place in the weeks just before Christmas, the holiday shopping period in most countries is starting earlier each year.

According to Deloitte, 30% of internet users in the region planned to make Christmas-related purchases in November or earlier. Still, the majority of Christmas spending was expected to take place in early December.

Consumers in the UK and the Nordic countries are some of the most avid Black Friday buyers. Meanwhile, adoption is rising rapidly in France, as people become accustomed to the idea of shopping for discounts outside of the legally designated summer and winter sales periods. 

Even though Thanksgiving is not a public holiday in Europe, many consumers still head to brick-and-mortar stores on Black Friday to shop. Physical store sales on Black Friday 2017 were expected to be at least four times higher than ecommerce sales in every market measured by RetailMeNot and the Centre for Retail Research, except the UK.

"Black Friday shopping in Europe isn’t only about Christmas gifts. In fact, consumers in most countries also take advantage of discounts for themselves. The most popular types of products purchased on Black Friday—and during the full holiday shopping period—include apparel, consumer electronics, as well as toys and games," said Jasmine Enberg, forecasting analyst and author of eMarketer's latest report, "Holiday Shopping in Europe: Black Friday and Beyond." 

(eMarketer PRO subscribers can access the full report here. Nonsubscribers can learn more here.