Consumers are making their lists and doing their research early this year in preparation for the holiday season. Post-pandemic, many thought shoppers would browse and buy mostly online, but data suggests consumers are looking both online and in-store to gain the best deals available.
In fact, there is some evidence that consumers are being more discretionary this year with their spending, looking to spread costs over time and select more cost-effective options or long-term investment items.
However, industry predictions are pointing to a holiday retail sales boom of between 3.5% and 4.6% in 2023, compared to 2022. Some of these predictions stretch from October or November time, implying that Black Friday and early sales promotions are going to catch the eye of eager shoppers.
The extended squeeze on wallets due to rising costs and inflation over the last year may mean that shoppers are searching for that true bargain to give them a boost. Current trends also show that consumers are crossing off gifts before Thanksgiving and even Halloween in a growing trend towards early festive bargain hunting.
Psychologists often talk about loss-aversion theory in regard to sale shopping. Consumers value loss twice as much as gain, so encouraging shoppers to feel they would lose out by not taking part in a sale event is integral to the promotional process. And businesses rely on advertising companies to achieve this goal. However, it is essential to be careful and well-prepared.
As Michael Podolsky, CEO of PissedConsumer.com, said:
Once a staple of organizing Black Friday shopping plans, print ads now account for only 4.9% of how consumers discover these deals. Instead, shoppers are learning about Black Friday sales mostly via email, online ads, websites, and social media platforms.
Statistics show that younger people are planning to splurge this festive season, with 60% of US Gen Z consumers surveyed intending to increase e-commerce holiday shopping and 44% of millennials suggesting they will do the same. As a data set, this would appear to suggest Black Friday will be a success for many companies this year.
- Why shop on Black Friday?
- Black Friday shopper spending plans
- What do Black Friday shoppers want to buy?
- Where will consumers shop?
- How do shoppers snap up deals?
- Do online reviews influence Black Friday purchases?
- Get what you want this Black Friday
- Survey methodology
Why Shop on Black Friday?
A central question to open the PissedConsumer Black Friday survey is what drives people to shop at this time of year, and what might hold some people back from immersing in the Black Friday experience. Compared to the Black Friday survey 2022, 42% of respondents feel that deals are good and true in 2023: this was 65% in 2022.
Fewer people predict they are going to miss the sale this year (9.9%) compared to 15% in 2022, but more shoppers want to carry on the tradition of Black Friday shopping in 2023 with 12.6% planning to shop, in contrast to 6% last year. One survey respondent said their whole family liked to shop on Black Friday because it helps preserve:
Our family tradition and sense of adventure.
These responses may point to a less frenetic shopping experience, and perhaps a more enjoyable one where customers are indulging in the holiday spirit ahead of schedule after a challenging few years.
Respondents to the survey also expressed why they might not take part in Black Friday, with shopping when they need, being a more dominant reason this year (21.2% compared to 3% in 2022). An important point to note is that the effect of inflation seems to be less of a concern, with 6.3% worried about it this year, down from 8% last year.
Shoppers also seem to be less anxious about retailers manipulating them in 2023 (15.8%), compared to last year at 24%. A decrease in interest around retailers raising prices is highlighted, with more people absorbed by this last year (16%) than this year (14.4%).
Black Friday Shopper Spending Plans
PissedConsumer Black Friday survey reveals some interesting spending plans and patterns. When answering a question about how much they spent last year on Black Friday, 9.3% spent over $1000, 18.3% spent between $500-1000 and 37.7% spent between $100-500.
In comparison, 21% said they spent over $1000 in 2021, highlighting that more people are now shopping, but perhaps spending less per person. This is demonstrated in the data for spending $1-100 with 15.1% spending that much last year, and only 8% investing that amount the year before.
When it comes to this year, 37.4% of survey respondents said that they were still undecided about how much they plan to spend on Black Friday. This might be because they want to be certain of their disposable income or they could be waiting for enticing bargains to be advertised.
A shopper who took part in the Black Friday study confirms this, as they said:
I check things out, and if it is a real deal I consider purchasing.
The Black Friday survey 2023 also showed that more people are planning to spend $1-100 (10.3%) compared to 2022 (8%). In addition, fewer shoppers think they will spend $1000+ this year, as 7.3% say this is what they are planning, whereas last year 12% wanted to spend that much ahead of the Black Friday date.
What Do Black Friday Shoppers Want to Buy?
For many in the industry, it will come as no surprise that electronics come in at number one when shoppers are asked what products they really want to invest in.
In 2022, 74% of survey respondents commented that they wanted to buy electronic products; however, this year only 25.3% of those answering the survey said they were looking to buy electronic items.
The second most popular category of planned purchases was clothing, both for 2023 and for last year. In third place, toys and games are still popular products to buy as the festive season gathers pace.
An interesting point in this year’s data is that 3.1% of shoppers plan to buy jewelry and accessories, in contrast to 33% last year. Uncertainty about what exactly to buy has grown over the last 12 months, with 5.9% not sure about purchases this year, compared to 3% last year.
Brands may take this statistic as a good news story, with everything to play for in terms of capturing consumers’ interest in targeted products before Black Friday. As one survey respondent confirms, letting customers know about great deals that are waiting for them can really reap rewards:
A few key deals are usually available. I do my research.
Nonetheless, one note of caution was evident in the Black Friday survey feedback. When consumers have done the research and selected the product they really like, it’s disappointing when shoppers can’t find that product for the price they want either online or in store. A survey respondent said:
If you're gonna promise an extraordinary event like Black Friday, then live up to it. Make sure you have plenty of products in your store to accommodate every customer.
Where Will Consumers Shop This Black Friday?
A similar amount of shoppers are planning to shop both online and in-store this year as they did last year – around 46%. However, this year, 41.3% of survey respondents said they want to shop just online, up from 38% last year. In-person shopping is down a touch, from 16% to 12.1% this year.
There are a variety of reasons for these slight changes. Covid-19 is still playing a part in consumer decision making, as this respondent shows:
Don’t like being put [there] with COVID-19 on the rise. People out there are ignorant and don't care if they pass COVID to others.
It appears that consumers like to do their research and spot those bargains ahead of time both online and in-store. A survey respondent commented that they like to:
Check out the sale of what is offered and the price to see if that item is worth it.
Ahead of Black Friday, consumers already have their eye on certain brands they want to purchase from. Moreover, 64.3% of survey respondents said they had decided to shop with Amazon, 44.9% at Walmart and 20.7% at Target. As these are instantly recognisable brands for many customers across America, this data is probably expected.
How Do Shoppers Snap Up Deals?
Finding deals is a major part of Black Friday for a substantial number of consumers. Shoppers shared that when they are starting to think about their potential Black Friday purchases, 25.7% of them discover the right deal in emails, 24.5% use deals found in online ads, 24% grab deals from websites, and 7.8% from social media.
These statistics revealed by the PissedConsumer Black Friday survey suggest that direct marketing deals reaching customers using a range of promotional strategies are proving to be tactically astute since shoppers are making the most of these in the run-up to Black Friday 2023.
Discounts are another key factor in buying decisions. This year, 35.6% of shoppers in the survey said that they could be persuaded by a 50-70% discount. 29.1% would like 25-50% off the price, and 16.9% felt a 70-90% discount would make them shop this year.
These figures suggest that more customers are looking for a great product at a reasonable price over huge discounts on items they may not really need.
Do Online Reviews Influence Black Friday Purchases?
Last year, a staggering 85% of PissedConsumer Black Friday survey responses suggested that shoppers consult online reviews before making a purchase. A similarly high 82% said that a negative review impacts their buying decision, which demonstrates the compelling power of online reviews for both brands and their customers.
Consumers often choose the review websites they are comfortable with and like to use, with 63.5% choosing Google, 61.9% reading reviews on Amazon, and 20.6% saying they like to read reviews on PissedConsumer.com.
This year, the Black Friday survey asked if shoppers would write a review after their purchase. Just over half at 50.1% said they would definitely write a review, 13.1% commented they would only leave a review if they had a positive shopping experience and liked the product.
On the other hand, 12.7% only wanted to write a review if they didn’t like the product or service. There was a small selection of 16.4% who didn’t want to leave reviews at all.
For potentially more serious reasons related to a product or for direct responses, refunds or replacements, 7.7% only want to speak or complain directly to the company. This could be because they want a speedier resolution to their issues or need support to sort out any problems they are experiencing.
Get What You Want This Black Friday
How can you achieve the exact products you really want this year, at the perfect prices to suit your budget?
Do the research
Start early, check out the review websites for the products you want to buy. Make a list and shop around to ensure you get the item you’re desperate to invest in, but at the price point that suits you. Undoubtedly, this will help you avoid sales FOMO – you won’t buy products you don’t need in haste.
Shop at the right time
If you’re uncomfortable with overcrowded stores, then find out when the quiet periods are and head out then. You may also find that being an early bird online will also give you the edge when it comes to snapping up that perfect gift ahead of the holidays.
Be aware of sales scams and check out official websites or in-store to make sure the deal you want is authentic.
Bag those discounts
Keep tabs on discounts, deals and coupons that are advertised instore and online to help you get ahead with the best deals. Look at competitors for the bigger products you want to buy, so that you know you’re able to grab the greatest deal right now.
A recent online survey by PissedConsumer.com asked 2970 website users to respond about their Black Friday shopping plans.
It’s notable that PissedConsumer Black Friday survey respondents live and shop across the globe, with the majority (85.5%) in America, 7.1% from Canada, 5.6% in the United Kingdom, and 1.8% from Australia.
In terms of demographics, 45.7% of respondents were over the age of 65, and 7.4% aged between 35-44. There was a nearly 50-50 split between men and women respondents.
1. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide any legal, medical, accounting, investment or any other professional advice as individual cases may vary and should be discussed with a corresponding expert and/or an attorney.
2. All or some image copyright belongs to the original owner(s). No copyright infringement intended.