Do discounts really drive purchase? What we learnt from Black Friday.
We’ve surpassed the biggest retail events of the year that traditionally is only focussed on discounting physical goods — apparel, products, hardware and more. This year we learnt that it was the best-ever Black Friday in Amazon’s history boasting that it sold “hundreds of millions” of products. Worldwide more than four million beauty products were purchased via Amazon, best sellers including L’Oreal Paris Mascara.
This year also witnessed a rise in companies taking a stance against consumerism and reactive, temptation buying. The Make Friday Green Again collective led by French fashion designer, Nicolas Rohr was a fantastic example of more than 300 clothing retailers agreeing to opt out of Black Friday in a move to protect the environment by encouraging people to look in their wardrobe at what they could recycle and repurpose.
My pick on beauty product brands who chose to boycott Black Friday was @ ‘the abnormal beauty company’. In Deciem’s own words, “Hyper-consumerism poses one of the biggest threats to the planet, and flash sales can often lead to rushed purchasing decisions, driven by the fear of a sell-out. We no longer feel that Black Friday is an earth or consumer-friendly event, and have therefore decided to close our website and stores for a moment of nothingness”. Shutting down their online and physical stores globally over Black Friday was a bold move. It did spark criticism when they then offered a 24% discount for the entire month across all products. Their response was they wanted to encourage people to not get caught up in the hype of sales instead take time to consider what they actually need to buy versus want to buy.
Looking at the behavior of customers booking hair or beauty appointments in Flossie challenged the idea that people will only buy because there’s a sale tag attached.
Sales peaked last Friday a 10% increase in revenue for salons compared to 2018 with the average customer spending $78 upfront to book a hair or beauty appointment. The appeal of an ‘offer’ did draw in the crowds yet when it came to completing a booking more people paid for appointments that only offer $5–10 off compared to a higher $15–20.
Diving further into this number we can see a spike from customers who didn’t even opt to buy a service on sale. The discount may have been the invitation to ‘enter the store’ yet the purchase was based on a decision on what suited the customer more and in this instance it’s about the availability of the service — does the time suit your schedule?
Looking at what people were searching over Black Friday there was a significant spike in ‘Women’s Haircut & Blow Wave’, considering this isn’t a luxury item to buy it could be said that people were only buying what they needed compared to what they desired. Haircuts were closely followed by hair removal, manicures, lash tinting and lash extensions — summer holiday preparations are in full swing.
Compared to last year, bookings for lash extensions have increased by 20% as this is becoming a more popular ‘accessory service’ where women consider extensions and nails as essential must-dos for their everyday look (now more so than jewellery). Although spray tans ranked high for what people were searching this didn’t result in the same volume of bookings. The ‘no make-up’ look is huge right now, a trend unlikely to falter anytime soon. In that same category, spray tans still ranked high in searching, but not necessarily volume of bookings — perhaps the early summer has meant they’re not as necessary, and if the time doesn’t suit, they won’t book.
What can we learn from how people paid for services on Black Friday? 20% of customers were using Buy-Now-Pay-Later (BNPL) to pay upfront for services whereas the majority focussed on one time payment.
24h shopping was an appeal for customers booking appointments through Flossie over Black Friday. Sales spike across the entire day and yes booking an appointment at midnight or 5am is something we do. 40% of bookings were made over the ‘lunchtime’ period signalling an appeal to get things done while your-on-the-go.
Certainly Black Friday is an opportunity to increase revenue but customers aren’t buying services because of the discount according to Flossie data. The greater the discount doesn’t persuade purchase either. It can be used as reason to ‘enter the store’ but as the data shows people will buy based on what suits them.