Black Friday traditionally marks the start of holiday gift shopping in the United States. This day has been known as the biggest shopping day of the year for decades. During this time, consumers can get deals in almost every category; kitchen appliances, electronics, furniture, and gaming consoles. This year, many stores had eyes on this shopping holiday to see if it would bring back pre-pandemic in-store shoppers.
The online numbers are in! Black Friday sales raked in a record $9.12 billion from online shoppers this year despite concerns of inflation and higher prices. Cyber Monday is supposed to ring up $11.2 billion, which would be an increase of 5.1% year over year and cement that as the biggest online spending day (Adobe). Thanksgiving Day online spending hit a record of $5.29 billion, an increase of 2.9% year over year, according to Adobe, which tracks sales on retailers’ websites. For context, typically, shoppers spend about $2 billion to $3 billion online daily, according to Adobe.
In the past few years, Black Friday has become more than a one-day event. For some brands, it has turned into a weekend-long affair concluding on Cyber Monday, and for some, it's a full month bonanza of savings. Cyber Monday has been known as the online version of Black Friday for a while, but due to the pandemic, most retailers have been putting all of their sales online to encourage those to shop from the comfort of their homes. That is a big contrast from a few years ago with the midnight doorbusters and people camping outside BestBuy. This year has been the largest window of sales that we have ever seen.
Will online shopping remain supreme? Research from Wunderkind reported that 71% of shoppers in the U.S. plan to shop online for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Many consumers love to avoid large crowds and even longer lines. Consumers also love the advantage of getting to shop at a handful of more stores at the same time online. The average household has reported they plan to purchase fewer gifts for friends and family this year. According to Money.com, American households spend on average $1,455 on holiday purchases but plan to cut that in half to $507. 51% mention inflation is to blame for their restricted spending habits.
With inflation on everyone's mind this year, retailers are enhancing their loyalty perks for shoppers during the holiday season to promote higher spending. Consumers can expect exclusive deals and early access. Walmart, for example, started its "Deals for Days" event offering exclusive deals on the most sought-after gifts this holiday year, giving shoppers a chance to browse and shop the events a month before Black Friday. Therefore, to save big, don't be afraid to sign up for emails and text messages, plus pay attention to paid ads and social media content for exclusive discount codes and early access to deals or extended promotions.
To alleviate immediate large spending, Americans are turning to buy now, pay later orders, which allow shoppers to pay through interest-free installments. If you've been online shopping, you might have noticed Klarna and AfterPay options at the checkout. We can expect to see promotions provided to shoppers for using these interest-free installment programs throughout the holiday season.
While e-commerce is fantastic for many retailers, it's also believed to be the leading cause of mass wasteful consumerism. Due to excessive plastic wrapping, non-recyclable packaging, and increased emission of fuel to support delivery trucks. This shift in at-home consumerism has made many brands shift to more eco-friendly options, such as recyclable packaging and easier in-person returns.
Did you shop on Black Friday? Did you go in-person, or did you shop at home? Any good deals? We'd love to hear about your experience this season.