2020 Insights - Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Our recent national survey of 810 consumers found that half of respondents shopped the Black Friday / Cyber Monday weekend.

Among those who shopped, 63% shopped exclusively online. But among those aged 55+, who are more at-risk for COVID-19, 77% shopped exclusively online. Only 8% of shoppers did all of their shopping in-person.

77% of respondents shopped for others, and 54% shopped for themselves. The lower proportion of self-shoppers is likely due in part to financial constraints caused by layoffs and furloughs.

Similarly, gift giving circles are tightening – shoppers are focusing on immediate household members and less on extended family/friends/co-workers. 

Respondents cited financial constraints as the most influential factor that impacted their shopping over the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend.

Shoppers continue to hope for another stimulus check when considering how much holiday shopping they can do.


What were the demographics of the Black Friday / Cyber Monday shopper?

  • Ages 18-34 were much more likely to have shopped
  • More affluent households were more likely to have shopped, and more likely to have shopped for themselves
  • Urban households were more likely to have shopped for themselves
  • Rural households were more likely to have not shopped the Black Friday weekend at all


Where did people shop, and how did they become aware?

63% of shoppers visited Amazon during the Black Friday / Cyber Monday weekend. The most common source of awareness about deals was from retailers’ own websites/apps.


Retail channel performance during Thanksgiving week 2020

We analyzed consumer spending using our Transaction panel of 6 million shoppers and found the following trends in how much the average consumer spends across categories.

Every category, including Amazon, saw declining year-over-year momentum heading into Thanksgiving week due to fewer transactions and smaller basket sizes. That said, several channels were still up year over year in consumer spending:

  • Amazon up +40% YoY
  • Home Improvement (i.e. Lowe's, Home Depot) up +30% YoY
  • Liquor (i.e. BevMo, Binny's) up +18% YoY
  • Sporting Goods (i.e. Dick's, Bass Pro Shops) up +7% YoY
  • Office Supplies (i.e. Staples, Office Depot) up +2% YoY
  • Beauty (i.e. Sephora, Ulta) down -4% YoY
  • Electronics & TelCo (i.e. Best Buy, Verizon) down -4% YoY
  • Apparel (i.e. Gap, H&M) down -20% YoY
  • Department (i.e. Macy's, TJ Maxx) down -26% YoY


Why did shoppers choose the retailer they did?

The primary reasons why shoppers chose either online or in-person retail locations was based on convenience: either in physical location, or fast delivery.

Deals and low prices were also important factors. However, many shoppers went to a retailer/website simply because they assumed they'd have a good deal - not because they were driven by any specific advertisement.

Brands with strong, long-term positioning around Value are likely benefiting from shoppers' implicit assumption that they will get a good deal.



Shoppers had mixed experiences with in-store shopping

While most shoppers agreed that stores followed COVID-19 safety protocols, nearly half of them reported bigger crowds than expected.

In-person shoppers made at least one incremental purchase, but most faced out-of-stock issues: they had to hunt for specific items and were unable to find it in-store or online.



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