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Singles Day, Black Friday, Cyber Monday - a little different this year?

Vontobel Markets
28/11/2022 | 2 min read

This year, a lot of things seem to be going differently. The current market environment, characterised by record inflation and acute fears of a recession, is also depressing consumer sentiment. For various retailers, the annual sales events are important for overall annual turnover - and they are also an indicator for the upcoming Christmas shopping season.

China's Singles' Day

11 November is an important and much celebrated day in China. This is because the annual Singles Day is a hugely popular sales event there, usually even outperforming its US counterpart, Black Friday and Cyber Monday. But this year, things are a little different. After sales of $84.5 billion in 2021 and $74.1 billion the year before, online retailer Alibaba won't reveal its total sales exactly this year. However, the company reported that despite macroeconomic challenges and pandemic-related effects, it achieved a result in line with last year.

Experts note that this year has been sluggish and sales growth has slowed. Xiaofeng Wang, chief analyst at market research firm Forrester, told CNN Business that it is impossible for companies to maintain high growth year after year, one of the reasons being increased competition and the uncertain environment. Weak retail sales in China this year and lower consumer confidence ultimately mean that consumers have become more cautious about their purchases. According to a survey by consultancy Bain, 34% of shoppers said they planned to spend less on Singles Day this year. China cannot escape the weakening global economy and also faces major economic challenges at home.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Black Friday is the next bargain day on the agenda on 25 November 2022. Along with Cyber Monday, this is traditionally the start of the Christmas season. Originally American shopping days, they have long since made their way into the European consumer landscape. The German retail association HDE expects sales to be higher than in 2021, with sales of €5.7 billion on Black Friday and Cyber Monday this year. According to this, consumers would particularly use the discount campaigns for Christmas shopping, despite the difficult general conditions and poor consumer sentiment. The Boston Consulting Group, on the other hand, expects sales to decline.

Consumer confidence in the EU is pessimistic

In October 2022, the consumer confidence indicator in the European Union (EU-27) stood at -28.9 index points, the second lowest value since data collection began. The indicator is the average of the balances from questions on household financial situation, general economic situation, expected unemployment and savings behaviour and refers to the next 12 months. The sharply negative values since 2022 indicate a pessimistic assessment of the situation.

Source: Bloomberg. Note: Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance

Forecasts for turnover in the US

Black Friday is one of the strongest retail sales days of the year in the US. Consequently, retail giants' sales this year are highly anticipated. On the macroeconomic side, there have recently been positive signals from the US. In October this year, inflation in the US recovered more strongly than analysts had expected. Inflation rose by only 7.7% this month compared to the same month last year. Just in time for Black Friday, the number of shoppers in the country fell for the fourth consecutive month. Core inflation (excluding energy and food prices) also fell more than expected. However, it is unlikely that there will be any new sales records, according to retailers' fears.

Source: Statista & Vontobel. Note: Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance


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