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Slack Friday in notebook space claims CONTEXT

by Stuart Wilson, Thursday 22 November 2018

Adam Simon, global managing director at CONTEXT
Adam Simon, global managing director at CONTEXT

Volume sales of consumer technology on Black Friday are unlikely to increase from the same period in 2017 in most major European countries, despite intense promotional activity from retailers, according to CONTEXT, the IT market intelligence company. The firm based its predictions on analysis of distribution volumes into retailers and e-tailers, using its CONTEXT Saleswatch data to compare sales across a crucial six-week period at the start of the fourth quarter compared to a year ago. The notebook category was chosen as an indicator of what might happen in the wider consumer tech space.

Adam Simon, global managing director at CONTEXT, said: “Most vendors prepare for this event in advance by ensuring most of their shipments to retailers and distributors are largely complete by the end of week 39. So distribution volumes into retail and e-tail after this time are a good indicator of consumer demand. Overall we’re not seeing any major year-on-year volume sales increases in notebooks. And if there is growth in sell-out compared to 2017, it could mean a weaker December.”

In the UK there’s certainly no sign of a coming Black Friday sales spike, with volumes through distribution down 11% on 2017 in the six weeks to week 45, and down 35% compared to 2016. This chimes with wider research indicating growing consumer cynicism about the event, with many shoppers (43%) predicting that deals will be worse this year than last.

Distribution volumes in Germany were also down 11% over the six-week period versus 2017 and down 20% versus 2016, as Black Friday struggles to make an impact in a country which has its own low-cost shopping weekend events.

In France, distribution volumes were down 23% versus 2017 and 44% versus 2016. This can partly be explained by the launch of its own version of Black Friday dubbed ’French Days’. CONTEXT data shows a year-on-year unit spike of 72% and 46% in weeks 39 and 40, which coincided with the latest two events.

The situation was more positive in Spain, where distribution volumes in the six weeks to week 45 were down just 1% from 2017 and 7% from 2016. CONTEXT predicts the biggest Black Friday sales spike in Spain, as the event is well entrenched in business and consumer practice.

In Italy, the opposite is true as the notebook industry doesn’t support the Black Friday hype, with PC discounts happening all year round. However, ironically, it is the only country of the five to have seen positive year-on-year growth in distribution sales over the six weeks to week 45 — up 4% compared to last year.


CONTEXT has been confirmed as an official Event Partner for DISTREE Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) 2019, the region’s leading hosted buyer event for consumer technology and IT channels. DISTREE EMEA will take place in Monaco from February 19th to 22nd 2019.

Market intelligence experts CONTEXT will host an exclusive VIP Summit to address major issues impacting consumer technology and IT channels at DISTREE EMEA 2019. CONTEXT will also deliver a keynote speech and have a dedicated presence in the exhibition area at DISTREE EMEA. This will allow DISTREE EMEA delegates to hold pre-scheduled one-on-one meetings with the CONTEXT team.

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May, 2021

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