Black Friday Stats 2021: Everything A Great Marketer Needs

Black Friday is to consumers what Santa Claus is to children, and Black Friday stats are to marketers what crystal balls are to psychics.

We did our best to collect the most actionable Black Friday stats to use in 2018.

On top of that, we supercharged each one of our Black Friday stats with special tips and takeaways.

Already feeling ec-stat-ic?

How much is Black Friday worth?

As a marketer, and I’m only saying this to be excused for a finance-agnostic statement of mine, I value Black Friday not solely on the basis of actual purchases.

I like to count in the purchase intention of consumers, too, as well, because it takes into consideration the impact of Black Friday campaigns altogether.

This also means that the trend itself is establishing itself deeper, ingraining its way to our culture.

It also considers word of mouth and this collective feeling shared universally by consumers who join the “feast”.

So, before I dub the overall trend of Black Friday, whether upward or downward, I consider all of these things.

How is Black Friday 2018 different from the rest?

Up until 2017, Black Friday used to refer to Black Friday alone.

Since last year, Black Friday is Cyber Weekend, Cyber Monday, and the holiday season altogether, too.

On Black Friday 2020, we’ll know better: Black Friday will only be the starting point for the shopping frenzy that peaks on Cyber Monday.

What this practically means:

Build your marketing and promotional offers accordingly.

Designing your Black Friday campaigns cannot be limited to Black Friday.

Start earlier, launch a sneak preview of what’s coming, in early November.

Take it up a notch before Thanksgiving until Black Friday. Save your best deals for gaining-ground Cyber Monday. Allocate your budget and marketing efforts accordingly.

For the purposes of accuracy, I’d like to provide you with numbers on each of these. To craft your communication to the likes of your audience you could use our stats.

You can draw your own conclusions:

Black Friday: In the UK, Black Friday spendings overshadowed spendings on any other day.

Cyber Weekend: In the US, Cyber Weekend raked $16.74bn instead of $12.75bn the previous year.

Cyber Monday: In the US, it was Cyber Monday that exceeded the other days in revenue.

Thanksgiving: In-store visits on Thanksgiving fell by 4% in 2017 compared to 2016. Online shopping on Thanksgiving did see a rise, whatsoever.

The holiday season (overall): I came across this really interesting table about extended Black Friday periods (November and December) leading up to 2018. Here is the percentage increase over the years:

black friday stats

Black Friday stats 2019

Overall Black Friday trend

I like to start with polls around consumer attitudes and perception. This helps me get insights on how consumers think. Following this, I try to see my consumers in this. What are my segments most likely to agree with? Crystal ball type of thing, toldja.

Here’s a really interesting bar chart on US consumers’ attitudes towards Black Friday (2019) by Statista:

black friday us stats

Interpreting the graph, we see that consumers are positively inclined towards Black Friday. Described as “opportunity”, Black Friday is seen as early holiday gift shopping, convenient online shopping, etc.

There is even an emotional component under “It’s a tradition”, which plays on the nostalgic aspect of this day. So, consumers are reminded of an earlier period in their lives, which brings them joy, which is why they call it a “tradition”.

Which countries rocked Black Friday?

I’ve had to look a lot for specific Black Friday stats per country, but I’m finally happy with the amount of information and source reliability.

Black Friday was massive last year with the vast majority of US and UK retailers offering Black Friday promotions. In fact, 91% and 81% of UK and US retailers respectively participated in Black Friday celebrations.

Wait, there’s more

According to the World Economic Forum article published last year post-Black Friday, US consumers spent a stunning £41 billion on Black Friday. On the other hand, UK consumers led Black Friday outlay in Europe with £7.8 billion spent, while Germany and France followed closely.

Black Friday stats map

Data from World Economic Forum

As such, these conditions are driving the market toward more competitive offers.

China was also part of this map with its equivalent event to Black Friday, namely “Singles’ Day”, celebrated on November 11. Last year, the Chinese spent a stunning $38 billion on Alibaba sites. (Fun trivia: Alibaba hit record sales of $20 billion in 13 hours!)

In fact, such was the response of Chinese consumers to Singles Day, that revenue generated on that day alone outnumbered US, Canada, and Europe spending over the Cyber Weekend combined.

Use this stat: Black Friday is spreading and increasing in popularity. The implication for businesses is that competition increases. At the same time, thanks to online shopping and new technologies such as website tracking and marketing automation, product recommendation systems, etc. markets become faster and boundless.

Is your industry an adopter or an outcast?

I was looking for Black Friday stats per industry and it turned out to be more challenging than getting my younger sister to share her “strawberries with sugar” dessert with me (because mine was long gone), back in the day.

But I did manage to find Black Friday stats per product category (as I had managed to find a “magical fairy” fill my empty bowl with strawberries while I made my wish with eyes closed (wink). That was before my mum found out what was going on and ruined a perfectly profitable idea.)

Below, we see an overview of the “percentage growth in sales of different product categories” in the UK on Black Friday:

In the given bar chart, we notice that electronic devices experienced tremendous growth in sales compared to 2016.

I thought “Sure, electronic equipment is pricey and hardly loses its value” so this graph makes sense; us consumers probably view purchases of electronics as an investment. But maybe the Brits have a different approach to Black Friday from the rest of the world.

To cross-check the findings in the UK, I went looking for more Black Friday stats, this time on impulse buys:

impulse buy black friday

According to the graph, in 2016, most impulse buys around Thanksgiving and holidays were made up of Clothing and Accessories (43%).

The next three spots were occupied by various types of consumer electronics (cameras, games, cell phones, tablets, etc). Cosmetics, books, and jewelry accounted for one-fifth of total impulse buys.

This data underpins the information presented in the previous graph. With regard to Electronics ranking second to Clothing, I believe it is only rational to see impulse buys more loosely connected to expensive gadgets, right?

Mobile VS Desktop: The Face-off

If you’ve done your fair share of research for Black Friday stats for mobile VS desktop, you should know by now that there are so many different numbers out there, different scales, different filters.

So, before I go on to share with you these stats, let me just say that you should focus on the overall trend and not the figures per se.

Having said that, according to Adobe Systems Inc., 40% of 2017 Black Friday sales in the US came from cell phone, 29% up from the previous year, according to market research firm, Criteo.

So, this tells us that mobile is rising but desktop is still going strong. I looked further and came across this graph:

According to this graph, more than half of the purchases made came from desktop users. The remaining percentage came from Mobile and Tablet combined.

In more than one article of those I reviewed I saw that mobile and tablet are growing steadily (from 26% in 2016 to 32% in 2017), desktop remains ahead, and in-store visits are still in fashion.

For example, according to Salesforce, 64% of 2017 online shopping visits came from mobile phones during Cyber Weekend (up from 54% in 2016) this weekend, up from 54 percent last year. With regard to online sales, 43% of orders were completed via mobile, which is 10% more compared to the year before that (2016).

Adobe attested to this data according to this Adweek article published last year: almost half of the web traffic came from mobile and tablets, but only 40% of revenue came through.

Use this stat: The immediate takeaway from this set of stats is to optimize your website and communication. Far beyond mobile responsiveness, we are talking optimization for all devices.

How does Black Friday stack up against Cyber Monday?

Such is the glory of Black Friday shopping that it would eventually spread out to the weekend and over to Cyber Monday.

Now here’s some amazing bits: Adobe crunched the numbers on 100 major retailers, tracking 80% of online transactions. The news? By Monday 10 a.m. consumers had spent the equivalent of 17% YoY* growth (approx. $840 million) (*YoY: year over year).

In that light, Cyber Monday was predicted to be the biggest U.S. online shopping day…wait for it…EVER. As a matter of fact, Cyber Monday went up 16.8% YoY. Yes, Cyber Monday made history in the US, going down as the largest US online shopping day at $6.59 bn. That was up more than a billion dollar compared to the previous year.

Use this stat: Cyber Monday is catching up fast with Black Friday and this suggests a developing trend. If Cyber Monday 2018 keeps up with Cyber Monday 2017, marketing implications could mean climax in offers, etc.

Ok, is Thanksgiving shopping a thing now?

Maybe not so much for in-store shopping, but online shopping from the Thanksgiving table is most certainly becoming a thing.

In-store visits on Thanksgiving fell by 4% in 2017 compared to 2016.  Nevertheless, oOnline shopping on Thanksgiving did see a rise:

As seen on the table above, digital Thanksgiving shopping is about getting first to an “amazing deal”. It also takes care of the scarcity effect (“Ensure you get the gift you want”, “Purchase something discussed at the table”). There are also some social aspects to shopping online, such as intentionally avoiding contact (“Avoid awkward conversation”, “Less concerned about being social after a few glasses of alcohol”). Last, online shopping on Thanksgiving does take overtones of human rights (“Support a store that is closed so employees can enjoy family”).

Retailers posted their first deals online to attract more customers – and it worked like a charm!

Use this stat: Turn the (sales) volume up with early Thanksgiving sales. Enjoy the complimentary perks of word of mouth!

Yup, Email Marketing is THAT awesome

Since everybody knows when it’s Black Friday, what do we need Email Marketing for?

Email Marketing can do more than remind consumers about the upcoming offers.

With Email Marketing and Automation, you can set up Cart Abandonment emails to reach undecided customers.

You can also notify those who checked out a specific item that stock is running low and that they need to decide quickly.

Thank shoppers who chose you over the competition and reward their loyalty with a coupon or other voucher.

I’m not talking blast emails: anyone can do those.

Three billion emails and eighty-two million SMS and push notifications later, Black Friday had a new record. A total of 8.8 billion data points were generated in just one day.

How did the various channels overdeliver on Black Friday compared to the rest of the year?

Email brought in a 30% increase in revenue, whereas social media accounted for only 5% of the Black Friday revenue.

Use this stat: If you haven’t already, take it from Shopify and set up Email Marketing and Automation today. Need help with that? Sign in/sign up for free!

Did on-site shopping take over online shopping?

It’s not surprising that online shopping has been increasing, while visits to brick-and-mortar stores remain the same.

Sure, nothing can beat camping outside stores to go in first and having to fight for your life and TV set over the electronics section, but online shopping is a tad more convenient.

According to The Wall Street Journal, in 2017, Thanksgiving and Black Friday crowds fell by 4%, compared to 2016.

The year before that, there had been 101.7 mn people, and the year before that, 74 million. This has been a positive trend for the past couple of years, despite occasional fluctuations.

Black Friday did not stop altogether when the clock struck midnight, as Saturday also attracted shoppers, 64 million of them, to be exact (National Retail Federation).  Sunday and Thanksgiving saw approximately 30 million braving the crowds.

Last year, according to Adobe Systems Inc, sales rocketed to $7.9 billion. This is a new record.

Use this stat: Online shopping is on the rise. Ensure your marketing communication is optimized for all devices and is mobile-friendly. For the same reasons, keep a few buttons handy, such as “Call now”, “Get directions”, etc.

How did high-end and small stores perform?

It wouldn’t be a complete guide to Black Friday stats without the performance of high-end stores over local shops.

On the one hand, high-end fashion designers had a change of heart: they discounted.

Why’s this that big of a deal? For branding matters, really.

You see high-end brands do not join in the sales spirit as the consumers they target are hardly ever affected by price reductions.

By slashing their prices down, these brands no longer address their primary target group, but their secondary target groups: fashionistas.

Regardless of their buying power, these consumers are fashion-savvy and rather price-conscious, compared to their wealthier counterparts.

According to Bloomberg, high-end goods experienced the steepest discounting so far, slashing their prices 26-50%. In the meantime, physical stores were minimally affected by online shopping, with visits dropping less than 1%.

As for the top-performing retailers in 2017, Amazon amassed 45.1% online on Thanksgiving and soared on Black Friday with 54.9%. Walmart totalled a marked 13.9% of all shopping online on Thanksgiving and approximately 9% on Black Friday.

What about small, local stores? Black Friday may not have rocked for them, but the “Small Business Saturday” (US: November 24, UK: December 1) day was quite a breather for them.

Alternative practices for Black Friday

But not all brands joined Black Friday. (K, there are no stats here but I really wanted to show you this.)

For the very sake of protecting the branding of a company, certain brands chose the road less traveled by.

Bend it like…Selfridges

Selfridges Black Friday

Last year, Selfridges launched their Christmas Comes Early campaign. No mention was made of Black Friday, as the company opted out of the price-shrinking tradition.

What did Apple do?

Apple Black Friday

Apple did not cut prices down and customers still had to pay the full price of the goods. But they did issue gift cards on that day.

The company encouraged customers to use the card later in the year thus prompting further purchases.

REI upped the ante

REI opt outside black friday

Closing its stores on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, REI decided to opt out of the sale frenzy at the end of November.

Dunelm shows the way

Dunelm Black Friday

For Dunelm, Black Friday was not going to be a value-adder as their products are “fantastic value for money”. They communicated this across their audience with an official statement from the company and went on with their day.

Use this stat: Black Friday can be your opportunity to address a wider audience in this shopping frenzy. Adapt your communication in terms of medium, language, content, visuals and get more out of this year!

One more thing about Black Friday

What do shoppers change their minds most often about? Let’s take a look at one more aspect of Black Friday which could suggest future trends.

Ever heard of sales regret? Sales regret is the feeling consumers experience after they have purchased an item that they either did not like or did not live up to their expectations.

The item most likely to elicit this type of feeling is a piece of technological equipment (30.2%). This is closely followed by clothing items and accessories (23.4%). Third are household items (14.7%), while shoes, music, and cosmetics fluctuate around 5%.

Wondering what price tags these sales regrets corresponded to? It appears that electronics accounted for $285 per person on average. Similarly, household items reached a $244 bill. Last, clothing and accessories stood at $87, almost one-third of the electronics outlay.

Use this stat: With the imminent risk of the sales regret percentages growing further, act proactively. By granting customers full money refund or another reassuring promise, you will help them overcome negative previous experience on the day.

Here’s a case study on Black Friday by Shopify – TL;DR (aka “I trust you Iné, you’re my best online friend”): Shopify just attests to the power of Email Marketing and SMS as the most efficient and effective ways to nail Black Friday.

click here banner

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  1. Offer your Black Friday promotions earlier this year.
  2. Generate word of mouth late October/early November.
  3. Target Chinese consumers before 11/11 (“Singles Day”: Chinese Black Friday equivalent).
  4. Thanksgiving shopping is now becoming more popular: launch some of your offers earlier for Thanksgiving.
  5. Wind of change: Sales and promotions are expected to reach a peak on Cyber Monday, rather than Black Friday. Save some of your superdeals for last.


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