Black Friday deals are a well-known tactic to entice shoppers to splurge both online and in-person. However, luring additional traffic to storefronts in either channel is only half the battle. Retailers and manufacturers must be able to accurately forecast this extra demand to stay ahead of the curve. The surge in online shopping during the pandemic and a steady return to brick-and-mortar locations has bucked historical trends and led to a less predictable shopping season in 2022.
Below, we discuss recent Black Friday trends in the U.S., the expectation for 2022, and what actually happened.
2022 Black Friday Trends
Black Friday and Cyber Monday have become nearly month-long events in recent years. Partially in anticipation of the holidays, retailers have released promotions early and left them open oftentimes until Christmas.
This doesn’t mean, however, that spending on Black Friday and Cyber Monday themselves has diminished. In 2019, sales for the entire Thanksgiving weekend exceeded $29 billion USD — a staggering fifth of spending during the entire holiday season. This was a $2.5 billion lift from 2018.
Without surprise, due to the pandemic, Black Friday in-person shopping decreased by more than 50% in 2020 from 2019. Subsequently, online shopping on Black Friday hit $9 billion, which was up 21.6% from 2019. Cyber Monday followed suit with nearly $11 billion in online sales that year, marking the largest online shopping day in American history.
2021 saw a return to brick-and-mortar locations as foot traffic increased by 61% from 2020, although this was still 27% below pre-pandemic levels. Combined with negative consumer sentiments around rising inflation, this return to physical locations may have led to the slump in online sales growth, as Black Friday came in just below $9 billion.
Inflation and higher prices certainly continued into 2022 and may have led to shopping hesitancies as consumers expected to pay more for less. Since September of 2021, the price of goods has risen over 8%, which may have caused retailers to anticipate less shopper spending. Conversely, retailers may have also forecasted pent up demand from shoppers who waited for Black Friday savings to make larger purchases.
As pandemic-induced pressures subside, retailers certainly expected brick-and-mortar locations to play a larger role in this year’s Black Friday. Consequently, 2022 was anticipated to surpass even 2021’s return to in-person shopping. Additionally, consistent growth in online shopping over the past decade created an expectation for a potentially record-setting year.
Supply chain issues arising from macroeconomic factors like labor strikes, the war in Ukraine, and lockdowns in Chinese manufacturing hubs are also still potential worries for retailers. These concerns are only exacerbated as Black Friday transitions from a weekend to an entire season, accelerating the race to the bottom for many retailers.
Early promotions that last until the Christmas holiday have also begun to phase out traditional notions of Thanksgiving shopping sprees. Shoppers are less likely to wake up early for long lines, given that savings won’t disappear overnight. Finally, many shoppers are simply opting to order online rather than risk busy shopping centers.
What Actually Happened
Black Friday 2022 came and went without many surprises. As we all enjoy the spoils of our discount-fueled shopping sprees, here are a few things that stood out to us:
- Black Friday saw sales of $9.12 billion and Cyber Monday had sales of $11.3 billion, both of which surpassed any year prior.
- Shopping in-person rose 2.9% on Black Friday compared to 2021.
- Approximately 48% of online sales were made with a smartphone, 4% higher than last year.
- Buy now, pay later orders rose 78% the week of Thanksgiving compared with the previous week.
- Electronics purchases increased by 221% from an average in October.
- Purchases in the toys segment jumped 285% from an average in October.
Ultimately, Black Friday in 2022 continued the growth trend experienced over the last decade. With an estimated $210 billion to be spent this holiday season, well-positioned retailers can anticipate a much-needed revenue boost from the 2022 holidays. As the year comes to a close, however, uncertainty with broader macroeconomic factors may hurt profits as costs rise and inflation soars.
For more on these trends and their impact on your retail organization, connect with our retail experts today.
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Contributions from Jake Park-Walters