Black Friday weekend is increasingly taking place online, with just 21% of consumers surveyed by SaleCycle planning to head to physical stores looking for deals.
In the run up to Black Friday 2018, we’ve been surveying consumers on their attitudes to this sales event, their spending plans, and where they’ll choose to shop over the weekend.
Black Friday Shopping Channels
One of the interesting findings is how few people are planning to head to stores over Black Friday weekend.
The surveyed was conducted online, and does therefore skew towards web users, but it’s still surprising that so few included physical stores in their plans.
None of our respondents planned to do their shopping offline only, while just 21% plan to included stores in the mix, using them alongside, mobile, desktop, or all three channels at once.
Q: Where do you plan to do your shopping over Black Friday weekend?
This reflects shopping trends over the past few years. While offline sales still outnumber online, the trend is towards online, especially in the UK.
In the US last year, Thanksgiving weekend gift shopping visits to physical stores were down slightly compared to 2016, but still outnumbered ecommerce, according to Numerator.
Online is catching up though, with the sheer popularity of online shopping on Cyber Monday almost matching Black Friday store visits.
Salmon predicts that, in the UK, a total of £4.75 billion will be spent on Black Friday, with £2.23 billion of that spend to take place online. If this is the case, 47% of total spend will be online.
Black Friday Spending Plans
We also surveyed customers about spending plans. The majority (51%) plan to spend more than $200, with 14% planning to spend $500 or more.
This may reflect the fact that many consumers use Black Friday for Christmas gift shopping, something reflected in the opinions of our respondents.
Q: How much do you plan to spend on Black Friday?
Most Popular Product Categories on Black Friday
The amounts customers plan to spend also reflect the kinds of products which are popular with Black Friday shoppers.
42% plan to buy electrical goods over Black Friday weekend, which can mean relatively big ticket items like TV and laptops.
Fashion is becoming more important over Black Friday. The sales event, previously associated with technology bargains, has been taken up by many different types of retailers.
Q: What do you think you’ll spend most on over the Black Friday weekend?
Consumer Attitudes to Black Friday
The vast majority of our respondents (89%) plan to shop over the Black Friday weekend.
Q: Will you be shopping over Black Friday weekend?
However, when asked whether they have favorable views on Black Friday, with 22% saying they didn’t like it.
Q: Do you like Black Friday?
Our survey respondents expressed some dislike of the sales event, with many expressing cynicism about the discounts offered.
Some believed these deals weren’t necessarily cheaper than at other times of year. Indeed, this viewpoint is backed up by deals site Idealo, as reported by The Guardian.
Idealo claims that nine of of ten Black Friday products are cheaper at other times of year, with only laptops offered at ‘genuine’ bargain prices.
Retailers have their own issues with Black Friday, with some feeling forced to discount too early in the Christmas shopping season.
There are pros and cons, but many still see this event as a great opportunity to boost sales and acquire new customers at the busiest time of the year.
The vast majority of consumers are planning to spend on Black Friday, and most retailers will be offering bargains, so it isn’t going anywhere soon.
Graham Charlton is Editor in Chief at SaleCycle. He's been covering ecommerce and digital marketing for more than a decade, having previously written reports and articles for Econsultancy. ClickZ, Search Engine Watch and more.