Stretched-out Black Friday deals may help prevent a supply chain nightmare


The home delivery expert ParcelHero is forecasting a £7bn monster Black Friday, but says retailers who still plan to focus all their bargains on one day – ignoring the problems created by Brexit, Covid and driver shortages – could see huge delivery delays.

ParcelHero’s Head of Consumer Research, David Jinks, M.I.L.T., says last year’s UK Black Friday sales of £6bn will climb to over £7bn this year, with the bulk being online: ’That should be great news for retailers, but it would be blinkered and irresponsible for stores to concentrate all their bargains on one day.

‘Hats off to all those retailers who have been running deals for much of November, making this The Long Black Friday. That helps keep demand on a smooth curve rather than create a sudden peak that may be too hard for some retailers to climb, given the current supply chain crisis.

‘We are now facing a staggering list of global and domestic logistics problems. In the UK, Brexit has caused a shortage of thousands of HGV drivers and warehouse staff, and it is creating growing delays at Customs. Chinese manufacturers have been hit by Covid, which has created stock shortages on many items including the chips to make electronic goods. All these disruptions to the supply chain mean that goods ordered by UK sellers are stranded in their containers.

‘Any retailer who thinks it’s sensible, in the face of all this turmoil, to focus all their bargains on one day or weekend is asking for trouble. Sensible shoppers will be heeding the warnings to shop early for Christmas to avoid empty shelves and online stock shortages in December. Of course they will be looking for bargain presents on Black Friday, but that doesn’t mean sellers should squeeze all their offers into just one day.

‘Delivery networks are already at full capacity. Black Friday could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Those retailers who haven’t been selling throughout November must think again and stagger bargains throughout December, rather than release them all on Friday.

‘Black Friday or not, pandemic or not, shoppers still judge online retailers by their delivery performance. After more than one bad experience with an online store, 80% of consumers never shop on that site again.

‘Given the strain on delivery services during the Christmas period, we are expecting to see retailers bring their final order dates forward as Christmas nears. That’s why our continually updated Christmas deadlines tool is so useful for keeping shoppers in the know with all their favourite retailers’ final order dates. To check the easy-to-use retailers’ final order dates tool, see: