Did the UK Spend 2/3 as much as the US online on Black Friday?

With bonanza figures appearing on both sides of the Atlantic it appears that it could be the case.

comScore have already released their desktop E-commerce spend figures for both Black Friday and Cyber Monday and they show increases of 25.6% and 17.5% over last year.

The M-commerce (smartphone & tablet) figures are still to come from comScore but we previously estimated they would reach $400 million this year which at an increase over last year of some 29% may be conservative!

Over here Giles Longhurst, general manager consumer insight at Experian, said: “Black Friday exceeded expectations for retailers, seeing a record breaking 180m website visits and an approximate £810m spent online in a 24 hour period.

This 60pc year-on-year increase in visit numbers to retail websites clearly shows that both British shoppers and British retailers have fully embraced the Black Friday trend. With such a massive amount of money and time being spent online, shoppers have really begun the Christmas retail season with a bang.”

Quite so!

So doing a little arithmetic we reckon the US Black Friday figure including our estimated M-commerce spend ($400) comes in at $1,905.

The UK figure of £810 at an exchange rate of $1.567 = £1 comes out at $1.27 billion which our calculator reckons represents 66.66% of the US figure.

To get another perspective on this if we look at the Office for National Statistics figures (non seasonally adjusted). The WEEKLY December 2013 figure was estimated to be £960.2 million. We calculate that the average increase this year through October is around 12% so if December also increases at this rate we could be looking at a figure of £1.1 billion or $1.7 billion or just under $0.25 a day.

This would, sort of, indicate that Black Friday was 5X the average daily figure. Hmmmmmmmmmm

Lies, damned lies & ……………. Comes to mind.

Subjectively we think the ONS figures are under scoped but possibly not to the extent being indicated

Happy Cyber Monday & Some Spendfest Perspectives

Well it’s here!

Estimates around the £650 million mark for UK online sales today come from Experian but we are somewhat sceptical. Apparently Black Friday may have reached £600 million.

Amazon have released some item sales figures which show an increase of 37.5% year-on-year on Black Friday (even their UK press release comes from Luxembourg!). Their best sellers “…have included the Kindle Fire HDX 7” range with £100 off selected models, as well as the Dolce Gusto Mini Me Coffee Capsule Machine, Toy Story Ultimate Action Buzz Lightyear, diamond jewellery and men’s watches.”

IBM have published their Thanksgiving & Black Friday report (pdf) about what happened over there.

One difference between the UK & the US is the increase between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Using comScores figures over the last nine years through 2013 shows an average increase of Monday vs Friday of just under 50% whereas using Amazon UK’s unit figures only shows a marginal difference of some 2.5% last year. The 2 days though both here & over there we think are the most popular online shopping days in the year although Experian thinks that Manic Monday (Decmber 8 ) over here may be the most hectic day of all!


Black Friday Live

IBM – ExperienceOne Benchmark


Emergent Breaking News

Click to view current status

As we all know the internet is probably the most prolific conveyor of rumours in the universe!

Well Craig Silverman (a fellow with the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University) is researching this seriously and is on a mission “ …to conduct research into how news organizations deal with rumours and unconfirmed information,  and to identify best practices for how journalists can debunk misinformation.

The result will be a research paper published in 2015, which will be available for free online. I will also be a launching a public-facing website where anyone can view the data being collected for the project.”

The website is Emergent.info where you can check up on many of the latest rumours to ascertain their status in terms of True, False, Unverified.

You can also  click on:

  • a story to visit a page that visualizes the sources reporting the rumor, and a breakdown of social shares per source.
  • individual articles on the story page to see specific revision and social share data about that article.

You can also even tweet your “unconfirmed reports” @EmergentDotInfo and get updates on current rumours status.

UPDATE: New York Times (the Upshot) article – Why Rumors Outrace the Truth Online

For regular updates on the project register here.


Should Scotland be an independent country?

The results

Post Results analysisHow Scotland voted & why – Lord Ashcroft Polls (pdf)

18 September

  • Polling stations open at 7am and close at 10pm
  • Across Scotland’s 32 local authorities, there will be 2,608 polling places/stations in local schools and halls, with a total of 5,579 individual polling stations inside.
  • 4,285,323 people have registered to vote.
  • 109,533 16 & 17 year olds have registered to vote
  • 789,024 have registered for a postal vote.
  • 4,410,288 people over 16, it is estimated, are resident in Scotland,


Apparently there are no exit polls being conducted so the likely first stat to be divulged will be turnout.

In the last three elections the Scottish figures were:

  • UK General Election 2010 – 63.8%
  • Scottish Parliament General Election 2011 – 50.6%
  • European Parliament Elections 2014 – 33.5%

It is widely expected that turnout today will be high some even estimating it could be above 80%.

The University of Reading have done some analysis of historic turnout and have detailed some of the records which may be at risk. We think it will be over 70%.

Photoshopping Big data

A large proportion of big data is visual and it has been estimated that since photography’s invention back in the early 1800’s around 3.5 trillion photographs have been taken of which 10% were shot in the last year. Facebook reports 6 billion photo uploads per month on its site, and YouTube gets 72 hours of video uploaded every minute.

This is as quoted by Alexei Efros, associate professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences, at UC Berkeley who is the lead scientist of a group who have produced some software which, in our words, cleverly averages a huge number of images and which also incorporates editing facilities.

The research was presented and their software (the code for which they say will be available soon) was demonstrated at the International Conference and Exhibition on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques, or SIGGRAPH, in Vancouver, Canada. Last week.

Our header is taken from the zillions of images produced from a Google search of cats (our web search came up with 112 million) and on the left is the resultant average moggie!

Amongst the commercial applications they have so far identified are in online shopping, where a consumer may want to quickly home in on two-inch wedge heels in the perfect shade of red.

Much more in their fascinating video;


Funding from Google, Adobe and the Office of Naval Research has helped support their work.


The Handy Vessyl Sails on

Rather than explain what it does/doesn’t do we thought we’d simply summarise most of the FAQ’s on Vessyl‘s site which, pretty much explains it all plus of course the ubiquitous video.

You can prorder it now (both in the US {currently $109 incl shipping} & Internationally {currently $117 incl shipping but excluding local duties/taxes etc}.Envisaged shipment date is early 2015

  • Can it  detect the brand of what I drink?
  • How does it help:
  • (a) me lose weight?
  • (b) me stay hydrated?
  • (c)me stay sharp (caffeine)?
  • (d) me build muscle?
  • (e) me sleep better?
  • (f) me regulate sugar?
  • How do I charge it?
  • How long does a charge last?
  • How much liquid can it hold?
  • Can I charge while there is a drink in it?
  • How do you clean it?
  • Is the non-stick coating inside it toxic once it starts to wear down?
  • Can I link multiple Vessyls to one phone?
  • Can I link it to multiple phones?
  • Does it count liquid when I wash it?
  • Can my it handle boiling water/tea/coffee?
  • Can I put it in the fridge?
  • Is it spill-proof?
  • Are there any wires involved?
  • Is there ANY change in taste due to the technology or inner surface?
  • Does it work for alcohol?
  • Does the display on it stay on all the time?
  • What’s the gesture it recognises?
  • Is it Scratchproof?
  • Is it Water-resistant?
  • Can it detect for Yogurt/Smoothies/Milk Shakes/Etc..
  • Does it drain my phone’s battery?
  • What languages does it support?
  • On which mobile operating systems/smartphones/devices does its app work?
  • Do I need a smartphone for it to work?
  • Can I choose what color I want for it?

How are we all feeling today?

You can now courtesy of Twitters recent acquisition GNIP ( a major provider of social data) Amazon Web Services (AWS) plus a couple of Aussie institutions actually find out at We Feel.

The Australian Institutions are CSIRO  (Australias national science agency)  and the Black Dog Institute (Global pioneers in the management and treatment of mood disorders).

Currently monitoring all worldwide English language tweets in real time they are analysed geographically:

  • Africa
  • Asia
  • Europe
  • North America
  • Oceania
  • South America

By emotions (with appropriate colour coding):

  • Anger
  • Fear
  • Joy
  • Love
  • Sadness
  • Surprise
  • Other

You can also analyse by date starting in April this year (although their calendar goes back to before twitter started in 2006!)

They also say “We Feel provides a table builder and a REST API that researchers and developers can access. We hope you try these out, and find new exciting ways to explore and mash-up the data”.


Sources: Gigaom and We Feel

UK & US Screen habits and 4 Myths for Marketers

GfK has done some research for Facebook on screen utilisation in the UK and the US which throws up few marked differences.

Click to ...

In, almost, their words:

“Facebook commissioned international market research agency GfK to perform a study of more than 2,000 people in both the UK and the US, to explore people’s behaviour across multiple devices (including smartphones tablets and laptops or PCs) and the resulting implications for marketers.

The study of over 4,000 online adults across the UK and US found that people feel a different connection to each device, and that each plays a distinct role as people switch between devices during their daily routine”

The only significant difference seem to be that:

  • We share our tablets a bit more with others and
  • More of us use three devices in a day

The main reason for switching from one device to another during  a session/activity is to get a larger screen they reckon.

We’ll let you use your largest screen to accommodate their infographic!

Now those four myths. They come from the CEO of Chartbeat  Tony Haile in a Time article and are:

  1. We read what we’ve clicked on (apparently 55% of us spend less than 15 seconds on a page!)
  2. The more we share the more we read (On content visited among articles they tracked with social activity, there were only one tweet and eight Facebook likes for every 100 visitors.)
  3. Native advertising is the saviour of publishing (On a typical article two-thirds of people exhibit more than 15 seconds of engagement, on native ad content that plummets to around one-third.)
  4. Banner ads don’t work (66% of attention on a normal media page is spent below the fold.)

We certainly go with the length of time on a page scenario – we tend to ignore anything below 30 seconds! Which accounts for a little over 60% of our pages visited in the last year!

We check our devices for updates at least every half hour

KANA software a leading customer service solution provider recently acquired by Verint have done some recent representative polling of UK adults to check the frequency that we  check our devices by age, gender and activity.

Unsurprisingly the younger you are, in general, the more frequent is your response apart from the 55-64 year olds who possibly haven’t got time as they prepare for retirement!

In terms of what we are checking on various devices and their frequency the dreaded email heads the list although Twitter is up there near the top well ahead of facebook.

Most frequently checked devices – all age groups
Email on smartphone  36.00
Twitter for replies 39.00
Phones for texts 48.00
Missed calls 49.25
PC or laptop for email 54.00
Facebook for messages 57.00
Checking voicemail  65.00
Source: Kana
Compilation: I.co.uk


Scarily we apparently spend 14 days a year complaining or waiting to complain. KANA explain “The average UK adult spends a “fraughtnight” — or nearly two weeks — each year waiting for service, making complaints and using digital channels to direct their ire at companies that provide poor service.

The average UK consumer has used 7.4 channels of electronic communication in the past six months. Amongst 18-to-24 year olds, this figure rises to 8.4 channels. The figure is lowest in the 65+ age bracket, but even this age band uses 6.2 methods of electronic communication.”