Will most Americans spend Black Friday shopping on their phones?

Photo: Getty Images/ArtistGNDphotography
Sep 30, 2022

Black Friday still draws large crowds to malls, shopping centers and stores, but a large percentage of Americans will spend the day opening apps and shopping from the comfort of their homes.

New research from Wunderkind shows that 71 percent of U.S. consumers plan to shop online on Black Friday and Cyber Monday this year.

Clothing and shoes top the list of gifts that consumers plan to buy at 65.7 percent, followed by gift cards (51 percent), technology products (49.8 percent) and video games, 44.6 percent.

Inflation is top of mind for most consumers this year, with 83.2 percent pointing to price as the biggest factor in their purchasing decision hierarchy and 54.4 percent listing availability. Thirty-one percent cite brand values as the biggest factor and 23.8 percent choose delivery windows.

Nearly half of all consumers — 47.1 percent of women and 48.2 percent of men — said they plan to spend less during the 2022 holiday season than they did in 2021.

A majority of consumers in the survey, 58.6 percent, said they usually learn about their favorite brands’ Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals through email. Nearly 63 percent said they like  being reminded of deals in this manner.

Online sales may take up a larger percentage of total retail revenues this holiday season, but stores remain the primary destination for most and the key to pleasing customers who want multiple shopping options. New research from Verint points to the importance of customer experience in driving mass market retail sales in stores and online.

Eighty-eight percent of shoppers said that they were likely to make a repeat purchase after having a good customer experience. Eighty-two percent were likely to recommend the retailer to friends or family and 68 percent to join a loyalty program. Sixty-three percent would be more likely to write a positive review.

Negative experiences have predictable effects with shoppers going elsewhere after failing to resolve a customer service complaint in the first attempt (62 percent), communicating through their channel of choice (57 percent), being forced to repeat their issues (55 percent) or having to wait an extended wait period to resolve a problem (50 percent).

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What do you see as the most significant differences in the way Americans will shop for the holidays this year compared to 2021? Where do you see the biggest opportunities for retailers to improve the customers shopping experience online and in stores?

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"One thing consumers can count on this Black Friday is plenty of choice."

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11 Comments on "Will most Americans spend Black Friday shopping on their phones?"

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Neil Saunders

Despite holiday creep, Black Friday will remain a big day for retail. It’s not just about the discounts – important though those are – it’s also something for families to do after staying home on Thanksgiving. That point is often missed and should not be underestimated in terms of why people go out to physical shops. That said, consumers have become very savvy at using multiple channels across the whole Thanksgiving and Black Friday period to get the deals they want – especially at a time when inflation is running high and people are laser focused on securing the best price.

Richard Hernandez

I believe that shoppers will be wiser with their money this season. The economy is still unpredictable, and buys will be well researched.

Dick Seesel

The long-term trend toward more “mobile shopping” for the holidays (and the rest of the year) is irreversible. That being said, I don’t foresee a huge change in consumer behavior from 2021 to 2022. If anything, in-store traffic on big days like Black Friday might improve — if customers’ return to restaurants, movie theatres and the mall throughout the year are any benchmark.

David Naumann

While consumers continue to shift more of their shopping to online and mobile, in-store shopping still rules. This year, we should expect more traffic in stores, as the pandemic is not as big of a concern and most people have chucked their masks. The tradition for families to get up early on Black Friday and head to store will be embraced more this year than it was in 2020 or 2021. This is an opportunity for retailers to impress shoppers to win their loyalty.

Georganne Bender

Consumers will shop brick and mortar stores this Black Friday. Sure, it’s a busy day but there is nothing like the rush you feel when you find a great deal on something you didn’t realize you needed. That’s true instant gratification.

We’ll also shop Black Friday via our phones and TV and social media and online and anywhere else merchandise is offered. One thing consumers can count on this Black Friday is plenty of choice.

Gary Sankary

Once again, retailers need to separate early holiday offers from the Black Friday event. They are related, but each has its unique relevance to retail. Black Friday is an event that I believe will continue to drive store traffic. There are too many consumers who enjoy the treasure hunt and excitement of making their lists while the turkey is in the oven.

Liz Crawford

Yes! Online shopping will prevail this Black Friday.

Inflation-wary shoppers who are hunting for bargains can more easily compare prices online, plus save money on gas. However for a segment of shoppers, Black Friday Door Busters are a post-Thanksgiving ritual that is enjoyed as a kick-off to the holiday season. This is an event for these shoppers; retailers should create special experiences (not just sales) for them.

Joel Rubinson

I think you have two competing trends. On one hand, consumers are increasingly comfortable with transacting from their mobile devices. On the other hand, people want to get out of the house and are ready for normal life after the pandemic. I see both types of shopping increasing and I think they will operate synergistically, too — customers will use mobile to figure out where the best deals are and then go there in person to buy them.

Tara Kirkpatrick

Mobile is the storefront for discounts and consumers know it. Since saving is top of mind this year, retailers should expect that consumers will stop at the mobile store at some point in their customer journey with the brand and optimize these features:

  1. Digital coupons: Push them on the opening screen and make sure they can be easily clipped and scanned.
  2. Buy online, pick up in store: Getting this experience right is table stakes even more than coupons in my opinion. It’s a safety protocol from the pandemic that is here to stay, and, for holiday shoppers it also addresses two big pain points — lines and reserving that special item. The biggest miss is often with inventory management, according to our app review intelligence, so start by ensuring that system is connected to the app.
  3. Returns user journey: Keep customers happy by making returns process clear upfront and develop a guided journey through the app to help them if it is needed.
Andrew Blatherwick

What is noticeable from all this research is that customer experience and price are way more important than speed of delivery, so why have so many retailers pushed speed of delivery as their main marketing message and at what cost to the supply chain? The big difference between last year and this is that availability is less of an issue, so shoppers can focus on other priorities and given inflation rates, price is one of the most important this holiday season.

Mohamed Amer, PhD

The mobile shopping experience happens every day of the year, punctuated by Prime Days and such. Black Friday is the physical shoppers’ celebration of the year’s best retail offers. Black Friday encapsulates the expected intensity of excitement, deep value, and treasure hunt, but also it’s a celebration of a ritual that had been curtailed for the last two years.

"One thing consumers can count on this Black Friday is plenty of choice."

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