This year's Black Friday shopping event saw contrasting fortunes on either side of the Atlantic last week.

Data from Adobe Analytics shows that Black Friday spending online in the US was down on last year's record amount of $9 billion, with around $8.9 billion being spent by consumers on the day after Thanksgiving. Data from Sensormatic Solutions also shows that, despite physical retail footfall increasing by close to 50 per cent on last year, compared to 2019 levels remained down by more than 28 per cent.

In the UK on the other hand, Barclaycard estimates late on Friday suggested an increase in sales of over 23 per cent on last year, when many retailers were closed due to the second round of nationwide lockdown restrictions. Meanwhile, analysts at GlobalData for the VoucherCodes Shopping for Christmas report predicted sales would reach nearly £9.2 billion for the Black Friday to Cyber Monday discount period.

Many retailers were looking to the period to boost sales dramatically, after a turbulent third quarter severely impacted by supply chain and labour shortages, which saw the prices of many goods rise sharply. Among these were electronic goods, with research from German firm Grover highlighting the example of Sony Playstation 5, which in the UK has increased in price by £100 due to shortages of graphics cards.

Oliver Guy, Senior Director of Industry Solutions at Software AG stated:

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"With the threat of consumer price inflation stalking markets around the world, together with supply chain worries, consumers are already bringing planned purchases forward. Recent research shows that UK consumers have already started their Christmas shopping for the year, as sales at toys and children's products retailers were up by 38% in October."

Meanwhile Eleanor Thomas, UK spokesperson for online retailer Wholee, outlined the strategies they put in place ahead of Black Friday to try and beat competitors in the race for attracting customer spending:

"With our wholesale prices, achieved by cutting out the middlemen of traditional retailing and connecting shoppers directly with more than 100,000 manufacturers worldwide, customers can expect to pay much less than they would elsewhere.

"We've also introduced our brand new 3D ultra-real product view, where shoppers can get a 360 degree product viewing so you know exactly what you're buying (often a worry with online shopping), to go alongside our product quality control and delay compensation guarantees."

No matter the strategies put in place to attract consumers, it will be a while before we know exact spending figures for this year's event. With the last year and a half playing havoc with retailing all over the world, businesses large and small will now be looking to their balance sheets to see just how successful their Black Fridays were.

With questions being asked of the sustainability of the high street in its current form and whether it can truly compete in the future with the might of online behemoths such as Amazon, this year's spending patterns may hold more significance than ever before.

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