Who is Winning the Digital Shelf Ahead of Black Friday (UK)?

Despite some uncertainty due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Cyber 5 weekend this year is set to be another record-breaker. Edge by Ascential Insights Manager Chris Elliott previews a few high-performing categories heading into the holiday weekend.

Black Friday 2020 online sales are predicted to comfortably eclipse previous years. With non-essential shops being closed until December 2nd, ecommerce will reap the benefit; online sales during the Black Friday shopping period (23 - 30 November) are predicted to rise between 35-45%.*

However, this all comes against a backdrop of uncertainty as many shoppers have felt the economic pain of COVID-19 and will be much more guarded about spending this year. Even with the expected influx of traffic online, it has never been more imperative for manufacturers to ensure that listings are optimised to reassure shoppers and boost conversion rates.

Brands looking to optimise their online assortments should start with user-generated content. 75% of shoppers use reviews to evaluate products, while engagement with reviews drives an increase of 138% in conversion rates. In other words, user-generated content is critical to increasing shopper confidence; 78% of shoppers trust reviews more than recommendations from family and friends.** Reviews, therefore, will be the most important factor in converting clicks into sales this holiday weekend.

Using our proprietary analytics tools and data, we’ll analyse reviews, ratings, and content before and during the Cyber 5 weekend across several high-value categories, and highlight  the winners and losers this holiday weekend.

Edge by Ascental has analysed user-generated content across two popular Black Friday categories to see who is best positioned to win the shopping holiday this year.

Which TV brand’s ratings + reviews signal success this year?

Televisions are always big business on Black Friday, and Samsung were best placed to win on the Amazon and AO digital shelf as it had the greatest average rating on these platforms. LG also performed well, with the highest rating on Amazon, (followed closely by Samsung) and the Argos website. 

Panasonic, however, has some work to do, with the lowest average score on Amazon and Argos and second-lowest on AO, avoiding the bottom spot by a hair.


Samsung and Sony had the greatest percentage of range with at least one review, with both having reviews on all their listings on the Argos website, however both brands trailed LG and Samsung on Amazon.

Though Panasonic performed well on Argos and Currys, it was let down on the AO website where only 60% of its range had reviews. Even the products that had reviews had a low number and since more shoppers prioritize total number of reviews overall overall rating when making  a purchasing decision, this should be a top priority for Panasonic.**

Which fitness brands have set hearts racing?

Although Fitness Trackers have been promoted prominently over the last few years on Black Friday, this year should see a new high. The outbreak of COVID-19 has increased the number of people exercising at or near home, both due to gyms being closed and the boost to the immune system that regular exercise provides. As a result, sales of Fitness Trackers have soared, and many more shoppers will be looking for a good deal this year.

Apple dominated the digital shelf with the highest average review on Amazon, Argos, Currys and Very, and it only just trailed Huawei on John Lewis. With Amazon being the first port of call for most shoppers, second place for Fitbit here will more than make up for its performance on Currys and Very. Contrary to its performance in TVs, Samsung can improve in the Fitness Tracker/Smart Watch category as it had the lowest average score on Amazon, Argos, John Lewis and Very.


Fitbit clearly understand the importance of reviews as all of its products on Amazon, Argos, Currys and John Lewis featured user-generated content. This gives them more of an overall edge than having the top-rated products would. 

Huawei had the lowest percentage of range with reviews largely due to only 40% of its range on John Lewis having reviews. All manufacturers in this category should look at Very as an opportunity for growth. The online retailer commands a significant amount of ecommerce sales, but most brands had their lowest percentage of range with reviews on their site.

Which DIY brands have nailed their PDP content?

If Reviews are the most important driver of conversion rates, Content is a close second. Ecommerce shoppers rely on clear product content to replace picking up the product in-store and solid content can make products more visible to shoppers on the digital shelf. As more people have stayed home this year, many have taken on DIY projects to improve their surroundings and Power Tools have seen a significant rise in sales as a result. 

Power Tools are traditionally promoted heavily over the Black Friday period, and we are likely to see this trend grow even further this year. Manufacturers must therefore ensure that their product content is optimised to compete.

It is critical that product titles include key information such as the brand name and key product information - this will not only help to reassure shoppers that they know what they are buying but also boost the product up search rankings for widely used terms.

The Einhell PXC Starter Kit on Amazon is just one example in which the brand name has been omitted from the listing. The Bosch Professional Combi Drill below is one of many instances where the type of product - Combi Drill in this case - is not in the product name. All manufacturers should be reviewing their listings prior to Black Friday to ensure they are free from mistakes like these.



Amazon UK website - 20 November 2020

Manufacturers should also ensure that there is comprehensive product imagery and video on its listings since such measures best replicate the in-store experience and provide confidence to potential buyers.

The Milwaukee Right Angle drill driver below is an example where product content has not been fully utilised. On Screwfix, this product has three product images and a product video and yet on Amazon, arguably the most important retailers, it has only two product images and no video. 


Amazon UK and Screwfix websites - 20 November 2020

Manufacturers must ensure they are providing comprehensive levels of product imagery and videos, particularly on Amazon, especially when the content already exists elsewhere. With this year's Black Friday set to smash all sales records, all manufacturers should be making last minute checks in these areas across retailers, so they can win the digital shelf and consequently Black Friday, 2020.


If you’d like to connect with one of our experts to discuss how you can optimise your holiday planning, fill out the form below.


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