The complete guide to peak season spending in Europe

August 20, 2018

Peak season in Europe has traditionally been all about Christmas. Then in 2010 e-commerce giants Amazon introduced Black Friday and peak season spending in Europe changed.

Since then Europe has followed in America’s footsteps and embraced post-Thanksgiving discounts – even though they don’t actually celebrate Thanksgiving.

In our definitive guide to peak season spending in Europe we delve into both the Christmas and Black Friday trends of seven European counties. We find out who the big spenders are, how much the average person is spending and when Europe’s peak season spending… peaks!

Peak season spending per person

Europeans tend to get pretty spendy in the holiday season, but how much are we actually talking? The table below breaks down by country how much each person is spending on average for Christmas.

The figures show that British and Spanish consumers are the biggest spenders at Christmas. Dutch consumers spend the least at Christmas, but this is because many celebrate Sinterklass earlier in December and do not exchange presents on Christmas Day itself.

Peak Season Spending on Black Friday weekend

Over the past eight years Europe has embraced Black Friday and it is now one of the biggest days in the retail calendar.

The graph below is based on data collected by VoucherCodes. It shows the amount spent by each country on Black Friday weekend 2017, including Cyber Monday. The United Kingdom spent £7.8 billion, which was the most in Europe followed by Germany and then France.

Peak season spending by country

Belgium

In 2017 Belgium spent 660 million pounds over the whole cyber weekend. This was the lowest of all the countries surveyed, but let’s not forget Belgium is also the smallest!

The truth is Black Friday has taken off in Belgium as it has in much of Europe. The volume of online shopping in Belgium increased by 107% in 2016 compared to 2015.

According to Adobe Analytics peak season spending will spike in mid-December as many people in Belgium – 42% in fact – leave their Christmas shopping till after December 15th (Deloitte).

France

Black Friday is the biggest day for retail sales in France. Over Black Friday weekend 2017 French shoppers dropped £4.8 billion and approximately 16% of those sales were online.

The French are the third biggest Black Friday weekend spenders in Europe and were the second highest Christmas spenders of the countries surveyed.

Les Soldes D’Hiver is the traditional winter sales period in France and takes place in the beginning of January.

Germany

When we look at trends for peak season in Europe it is clear that Germany is a nation of online shoppers. To start with the Germans are Europe’s second biggest Black Friday weekend spenders having spent £5.7 billion last year. Secondly, it is interesting to note that in Adobe Analytic’s 2016 spending forecast they predict that Cyber Monday will be the biggest day for peak season spending.

Deloitte predicted that 37% of Christmas shopping in Germany is done online. So the popularity of Cyber Monday could be customers looking to make the most of online deals when buying gifts.

Italy

Italian shoppers spent £2.7 billion over cyber weekend 2017, the fourth highest of the countries surveyed. 

Research into peak season spending habits concluded that Italians spent an average of 528 per person on Christmas in 2017. This figure is €83 more than the European average (Deloitte).

Spain

On Black Friday 2017 almost half of Spanish e-tailers took part in the event and they received almost five times as many online orders as they would on an average day.

According to Deloitte, Spanish consumers spend the most per person on Christmas in Europe. The average Spanish consumer spends €632 in total, which when broken down becomes €252 on gifts, €195 on food, €80 on socialising and €106 on holiday travel.

The Netherlands

Dutch consumers spent £861 millionon Black Friday weekend in 2017. The Dutch celebrate Sinterklass on December 5th. This makes Black Friday is the perfect opportunity for Dutch consumers to pick up gifts at a discount.

According to Adobe Analytics there is no particularly strong day for retail sales in the Netherlands, although peak season spending seems to spike in mid-December.

Black Friday is gaining pace in the Netherlands, but local e-commerce websites such as bol.com currently have the edge over Amazon who only launched here in 2014 and only introduced their Prime offering last year.

United Kingdom

The Brits are the biggest Black Friday spenders in Europe. Last year they spent 7.8 billion pounds over Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend.

According to Adobe Analytics, Black Friday itself is the biggest day for peak season spending in the UK. In fact Black Friday spending in the UK jumped 111% between 2016 and 2017 from £1.23 to £2.6 billion.

Brits are also the most generous in terms of Christmas gifting. Deloitte estimates that Brits spend almost twice as much as the European average on gifts during the peak season.

Peak season spending in the United Kingdom is at its highest on Black Friday, Cyber Monday, mid-December and Boxing Day.

The day after Christmas Day in the UK is a major day in the retail calendar. The Boxing Day sales have traditionally been a day when many stores open early to greet eager shoppers. In recent years e-tailers have opened up their Boxing Day discounts online on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. So even though the physical stores are closed bargain-hunters can get their fix earlier.

Conclusion

So there you have it, our guide to peak season spending in Europe. As Black Friday and Cyber Monday have increased in popularity over recent years we have seen a shift in spending from December to November as consumers take advantage of the deals on offer. Although December is still the most popular month in terms of sales in most European countries.

Looking for more peak season insights?

For more peak season inspiration join our webinar where we will be sharing our seven tips for peak season success. Alternatively, take a look at our peak season 2018: all the dates you need to know and five brands offering a Black Friday alternative blog posts.

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