Black Friday spending to hit £2million-a-minute as shoppers queue to get onto Boots and Cult Beauty websites

Black Friday spending to hit £2million-a-minute as shoppers queue to get onto Boots and Cult Beauty websites

BLACK Friday will see Brits spending £2million-a-minute online - but store websites' worst-ever crashes are predicted amid unprecedented cyber traffic

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BLACK Friday will see Brits spending £2million-a-minute online – but store websites’ worst-ever crashes are predicted amid unprecedented cyber traffic.

So far, thousands of customers have been queuing to get on Boots and Cult Beauty’s websites, while the popular Nintendo Switch console has sold out in minutes at Aldi and eBay.

⚠️ Read our Black Friday 2020 live blog for the latest deals, news & updates

Record turnout for shoppers is expected online this Black Friday


Record turnout for shoppers is expected online this Black Friday

The rush for the Nintendo Switch came after the console was discounted from £279.99 to £229.99.

Experts blame shops’ lockdown causing a huge spike in web demand across Black Friday sales as a whole – 70% bigger than last year’s Black Friday.

Electronics and fashion websites are set to be worst hit by web meltdowns.

This year’s spending surge will dwarf last year’s Black Friday, when Currys PC World’s website went offline and NatWest’s banking website and app crashed.

Debenhams, Next, John Lewis, Boots, Ted Baker and Game have all crashed on previous Black Fridays.

Boots customers have been queuing to access its Black Friday sale


Boots customers have been queuing to access its Black Friday sale
A staggering 40,000 people were in the queue to access Cult Beauty's Black Friday sale


A staggering 40,000 people were in the queue to access Cult Beauty’s Black Friday sale
Lakeside shopping centre, meanwhile, was empty today


Lakeside shopping centre, meanwhile, was empty todayCredit: Louis Wood – The Sun

It comes after last week’s launch of PlayStation5 – just one product – saw Currys forced to implement a queue to access its website, and John Lewis, Tesco and GAME’s websites would not load.

But it was a different picture for physical stores in England, with pictures showing Lakeside shopping centre empty on Black Friday. The shopping centre is partially open, with only essential retailers open.

However, shoppers have been seen queuing outside Primark in Cardiff, where non-essential shops are allowed to stay open.

Today’s £1.93billion web blowout works out at £2.01m-a-minute over the 16 hours most people are awake.

This is up on the previous record £1.56m-a-minute set on last year’s Cyber Monday, a VoucherCodes.co.uk study with the Centre for Retail Research showed.

Shoppers were queuing outside Primark in Cardiff today


Shoppers were queuing outside Primark in Cardiff todayCredit: Huw Evans Agency
Non-essential shops are allowed to be open in Wales


Non-essential shops are allowed to be open in WalesCredit: Huw Evans Agency

Over the entire weekend, shoppers are expected to splash £7.5billion online and on the high street.

It comes as this year’s Black Friday sales started earlier than ever before with some experts renaming this month “Black November”.

Amazon was one of the first to start its sales, having launched its deals one month ago.

But several retailers have ditched the sales bonanza altogether this year, including B&M, Next, M&S and Wilko, in an attempt to stop crowds.

Sales across physical shops over the weekend are expected to be down by 63.7% on last year – from £4.79billion to £1.74billion – due to on-going coronavirus restrictions keeping shops shut.

Our tips for finding the best deals this Black Friday and Cyber Monday

IT might be tempting to dive in and snap up LOADS of items on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but here’s how you can guarantee you’re getting a good deal.

PREPARE Research the items you want to buy and find out the cheapest price. Websites like PriceSpy, PriceHistory and CamelCamelCamel will give you historical data on prices so you can see how much you should pay.

GET FOLLOWING Follow your favourite shops on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and sign up to its deals newsletter to get the latest on any offers. We post the best deals in our Sun Money FB group too.

CHECK FOR CODES Take a look at The Sun Vouchers, and see if you can get extra savings with discount codes.

With non-essential shops closed in England on Britain's biggest shopping day of the year


With non-essential shops closed in England on Britain’s biggest shopping day of the year

Professor Joshua Bamfield, director of the Centre for Retail Research, said: “There’s no way websites will be able to cope, with spending this Black Friday up so much on previous big online days.

“There are bound to be websites crashing. Retailers have spent millions improving website operations and technology, but the surge in demand will be so big and higher than any other day. There will be problems.”

Ross Davies, director of e-commerce consultants Strafe Creative, said: “Many companies do not have website capacities to meet demand. Websites react to large spikes in traffic and can crash.

“Crashed websites on a day when retailers hoped to make large sales damage sales and the companies’ reputations.”

Research by e-commerce platform EKM has projected that online Black Friday sales will be 53% higher this year.

Online marketplace eBay has said it expects a surge of sales as people continue to complete their Christmas shopping early.

Murray Lambell, general manager of eBay UK, said: “This year, the country will experience its biggest Black Friday yet with people across the UK gearing up to take advantage of the incredible deals eBay has on offer to save on Christmas shopping and shop ahead where they can.

“We predict online baskets will be filled with items such as gym equipment, toys and entertainment that the whole family can enjoy as we stay home more and put an increased focus on keeping our minds and bodies healthy.”

How to compare prices to get the best deal

JUST because something is on offer, or is part of a sale, it doesn’t mean it’s always a good deal.

There are plenty of comparison websites out there that’ll check prices for you – so don’t be left paying more than you have to.

Most of them work by comparing the prices across hundreds of retailers.

Here are some that we recommend:

  • Google Shopping is a tool that lets users search for and compare prices for products across the web. Simply type in keywords, or a product number, to bring up search results.
  • Price Spy logs the history of how much something costs from over 3,000 different retailers, including Argos, Amazon, eBay and the supermarkets. Once you select an individual product you can quickly compare which stores have the best price and which have it in stock.
  • Idealo is another website that lets you compare prices between retailers. All shoppers need to do is search for the item they need and the website will rank them from the cheapest to the most expensive one.
  • CamelCamelCamel only works on goods being sold on Amazon. To use it, type in the URL of the product you want to check the price of.

Pippa Wicks, executive director at John Lewis, said it will “undoubtedly be a Black Friday like no other”, with 39 of its 42 shops closed as a result of lockdown measures.

She said: “We are offering hundreds of Black Friday deals at John Lewis and are also continuously monitoring the prices of our high street competitors as part of our commitment to being never knowingly undersold.

“This means that our customers can be sure we offer the best value on the high street throughout the Black Friday period and in the run-up to Christmas.”

However, analysts at EY said that early Christmas shopping and restrictions have impacted the importance of the sales event.

Silvia Rindone, EY UK & Ireland retail partner, said: “Once a big event for the retail industry, the reality is that Black Friday’s significance has diminished.

“This year, retailers have brought offers forward due to the national restrictions put in place earlier this month so it’s unlikely there will be significant new discounts this week.

“Now, retailers need to look beyond festive deals in order to aim for recovery and a positive start to 2021.

“What would have been a 10-year transition from physical to online sales has happened in less than a year, and retailers need to understand and adapt to likely permanent shifts in consumer behaviour.”

Keep an eye on our Black Friday page where we’ll be updating you with the best bargains today, tomorrow and over the weekend.

Plus, here are our tips on how to beat bad bargains with out top tips and tools.

We’ve previously revealed how prices could be cheaper before Black Friday.

Britain’s largest Amazon depot preparing for Black Friday in a warehouse the size of 17 football pitches

This post first appeared on thesun.co.uk

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