After struggling through a very soft Back to School period where revenue results for the Technology market were down -7 per cent from the previous year, many were looking towards the next key buying period to help bolster the industry. Historically, Back to School has been a harbinger for Black Friday. This year, Black Friday has come and gone it appears that remains true. Despite the efforts of retailers and manufacturers alike, revenue results show the market to be off 12 per cent vs. an already disappointing 2014 which came in at -6 per cent. Much of this on the backs of sustained aggressive pricing tactics.
For those of you who have heard me speak on the subject of Black Friday you know I am not an advocate of this US based shopping holiday. Since 2012, when Black Friday first showed an increased presence in Canada, we have continued to see those weeks in-between Black Friday and Boxing Week diminish in importance. Last year alone those 3 weeks saw a decrease of over $70 million dollars for Technology products. At the same time we are not seeing overall holiday sales in general increase with the addition of Black Friday. Each year since this event came to Canada the size of the market has decreased. Maybe just maybe, Black Friday is working against Holiday sales for the industry instead of helping; it would seem the Technology market was much healthier before Black Friday showed up.
That said, there were some bright spots this year during Black Friday that included categories where revenue was stronger than last year. Included on this list are Monitors up +28 per cent, Networking Devices +8 per cent, Laser Multi-function printers +35 per cent and Keyboards +23 per cent. However, the 3 key categories that make up the lion’s share of overall revenues, Tablets, Notebooks and Desktops, all finished Black Friday in a revenue declining position. These categories represent 70 per cent of the revenue for the industry and when the largest revenue category during Black Friday – Tablets – is showing revenue growth of -29 per cent it is difficult for the entire industry to deliver strong results.
Fingers crossed that when we hit Boxing Week in a couple weeks we will experience consumers flocking to buy and drive a strong finish to the calendar year.