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Some businesses need a high street location whilst others can be run from home. Understand the key factors from cost to location, size to security.

Your employees can your biggest asset. They can also be your biggest challenge. We explain how to recruitment and manage staff successfully.

It is likely your business could not function without some form of IT. Learn how to specify, buy, maintain and secure your business IT.

Few businesses manage the leap from start up to high-growth business. Learn what it takes to scale up and take your business to the next level.

Black Friday set to be a record breaker

24 November 2020

New research suggests that Black Friday 2020 could be the busiest ever as online sales continue to soar.

Two-thirds of Brits (67%) say they plan to shop on Black Friday this year, up 10% on last year, according to the annual Black Friday survey by Retail Assist.

Black Friday takes place on 27 November. The poll of 1,200 shoppers by Retail Assist found that 41% said that Black Friday usually kicks off their Christmas shopping. However, 66% of UK shoppers said they plan to start shopping early anyway. The findings show that many Brits have been using lockdown to do their Christmas shopping online to spread out the cost.

Shoppers often shop on Black Friday to buy technology; this year, 55% of respondents said they were most interested in buying clothes, followed by beauty products (31%) and then technology (24%).

A poll of 2,000 UK consumers by Opinium for LiveArea has also found that Brits have been using the current lockdown to get on with their Christmas shopping. Its findings show that 36% of Brits will do all, or most, of their Christmas shopping during November's lockdown.

Over a quarter (27%) of UK consumers expect to spend less this year on Christmas, compared to previous years. The price of items (38%) will be the key factor for shoppers as well as reliable deliveries (24%). However, it seems that slow or malfunctioning websites are the biggest barrier to lockdown sales - cited by 90%.

"It is now undeniable - price, online experience and delivery are, and will remain, the most important consumer purchasing factors. The second lockdown has proven that the high street is simply not necessary for retail businesses to flourish," said Elliott Jacobs, EMEA commerce consulting director at LiveArea.

"The key to navigating the market is adaptability - all businesses need the ability to understand consumer changes and react instantly. Habits are changing at an unprecedented rate, a trend which will not change any time soon. Retailers can only flourish if they embrace digital and the benefits that come with it."

Confirming the findings of these surveys, the retail figures for October from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that internet sales have grown 60% year-on-year. David Jinks, head of consumer research at ParcelHero, predicts that the figures for November will be even higher thanks to the lockdown.

"There are some truly astonishing figures for online sales this October," he said. "All in all, ecommerce now grabs 28.5% of all UK retail sales. All this is great news for online retailers … but this surge in home deliveries points to an intensely busy seasonal peak. Both consumers and retailers need to carefully plan this year to avoid the impact of this Mount Everest of Christmas peaks."

Written by Rachel Miller.

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