What to expect for Black Friday and which categories will stand out during festive season 2021

More brick-and-mortar stores are now open in the UK, but that isn’t likely to change consumer behaviour much heading into festive season 2021. A survey of 1,500 UK and US consumers revealed that 85.9% plan to continue shopping in 2021 just as they had in 2020, and that 28% expect to shop even more online. That’s why ecommerce is the prime battleground for all retailers heading into Black Friday.

To help brands learn more about 2021 UK retail trends, we took a deep dive into Conductor search data. We identified Christmas holiday shopping traffic expectations, leading categories by search volume and who’s owning the market in key categories such as baby products. Read on to gain insight that can help your brand develop a content strategy that will win the 2021 Christmas holidays.

Which items are UK consumers searching for in 2021?

Staying mobile and getting crafty. That’s what consumers are looking to do this festive season based on search data. These three products showed the biggest average increase in search volume since March 2020:

Top UK Retail Searches

Do 2021 UK retail trends show UK shoppers returning to stores on Black Friday?

In 2020, overall UK Black Friday sales volume fell, but online sales surged, with popular brands like John Lewis reporting a 35% increase in online sales. We expect online traffic to be heavy again in Black Friday 2021 as consumers still prefer contactless shopping.

Which store websites will drive Black Friday traffic in the UK?

We’re witnessing a big change in the way consumers look for Black Friday deals online. While Amazon once topped UK search volume, today’s shoppers are more likely to search for their favourite stores by name. As a result, electronics retailer Currys PC World, health and beauty/pharmacy leader Boots and department store brands like Argos and John Lewis all topped Amazon in UK Black Friday search volume for July 2021.

Top Retail Companies Expected to Get Traffic For Black Friday 2021

What will UK consumers search for on Cyber Monday 2021?

Cyber Monday started as a way for online-only merchants to roll out their own Black Friday-style deals. But with 2021 UK retail trends indicating that consumers today do most of their shopping online, the lines between Cyber Monday and Black Friday have blurred. This has led to lower monthly search volume (MSV) for Cyber Monday.

To learn which brands and products will be top-of-mind for consumers on Cyber Monday 2021, we looked at search volume from July 2021. It shows high interest in electricals—laptops, TVs, Nintendo, and Apple products. Indeed, many UK retailers are already developing promotions around the release of Apple’s new iPhone 13 Pro. What’s more, increased MSV for brands like Asos shows that apparel will be another hot category.

Top Retail Companies & Items Expected to Get Traffic for Cyber Monday in 2021

Which gift cards will win the 2021 festive season?

In 2020, searches for gift cards online grew globally by 100%. We anticipate strong gift card sales in 2021, too. Amazon leads the pack when it comes to search volume for gift cards, but many others are close behind.

Gaming cards from Roblox and Xbox take two of the top four spots. One4All ranks third, showing high demand for multi-store cards. And surging search volume for Asda and John Lewis gift cards show that many UK shoppers will likely give the gifts of groceries and apparel for the festive season 2021.

Top Gift Cards Being Searched in 2021

What will charitable giving look like during the 2021 Christmas holidays?

The 2021 Christmas Holidays are a time for giving. We analysed about 1,000 searches related to charitable giving, donations, nonprofits, and volunteering, and found a 47% increase in interest since the beginning of lockdowns in 2020.

UK Non-Profits

The top five UK nonprofits seeing increased search demand are:

  • Salvation Army 74000
  • Oxfam 60500
  • Cancer Research UK 40500
  • British Red Cross 22200
  • British Heart Foundation 13500

3 top categories UK retailers should prioritise for festive season 2021

Conductor data and Google research indicates that retailers would be wise to prioritise these three categories to catch the latest 2021 UK retail trends.

1. Baby and toddler outerwear

There’s been much debate over whether the predicted COVID-19 baby boom actually happened. But either way, search demand for baby and toddler outerwear always peaks during the Christmas holidays. We see demand for products like pramsuits, puddle suits, and baby sleeping bags peak consistently each year from September to January, and we expect to see the same demand spike during festive season 2021.

2. Coats and jackets

The 2021 Christmas holidays mean the coldest UK months of January and February are right around the corner. That’s why coats and jackets are always a seasonal favorite. A top trending jacket: the wool-bodied, leather-sleeved varsity jacket. It’s experienced a remarkable 817% increase in MSV since 2017. Other types of jackets experiencing MSV increases YoY include “north face puffer jacket”, “carhartt jacket”, “windbreaker”, and “waterproof jacket.”

3. Luggage and duffel bags

With more countries getting added to the UK’s green-light travel list, consumers and businesspeople are anticipating a return to travelling. That’s why we’re seeing increased search volume for luggage and duffel bags, a trend we expect to continue as travel begins to normalise heading into 2022.

Which domains will capture the most baby product searches during the 2021 Christmas holidays?

Argos and Amazon, both of which sell toys and a whole lot more, take the top two spots in searches for terms related to baby products. Specialty retailer Smyths Toys Superstore ranks in third.

Top Domains Ranked In Top 5 Results For Baby Products Terms

What other categories and subcategories are driving the festive season 2021 discussion?

Searches for garden and DIY products grew by 50% YoY during the pandemic, and that surge will continue into festive season 2021. So too will interest in sporting goods, with camping and caravanning products among the most searched items.

Inside the full UK Retail Trend Report 2021, you’ll learn the top searched subcategories for baby products, garden/DIY and sporting goods. You’ll discover which products have had the greatest increase in search demand since last summer. You’ll learn which new shopping behaviours UK consumers are embracing during the Christmas holidays 2021. And you’ll even get examples of UK retailers who are using leading organic content strategies to drive traffic to their product pages.

Use these 2021 UK retail trends and insights to optimise your online retail experience and win your share of the festive season 2021 market.