Black Friday VS Cyber Monday: What to Expect from Holiday Shoppers
24 Oct, 2017 Chris Medenwald, PhD
Brace yourselves; they’re coming.
Holiday shoppers will soon bombard stores and websites in the 2017 installments of Gray Thursday (aka Thanksgiving), Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday.
And, as you’ll see below, it looks like a frenzy of spending will once again ensue on at least two of these days: Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Join us as we address a few timely questions about Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the upcoming holiday shopping season, based on a recent Field Agent mobile survey of over 2,000 U.S. adults*.
*Field Agent surveyed 2,020 U.S. adults October 13-15, 2017, with the sample split evenly between males and females. The survey was administered through the Field Agent mobile app, which respondents completed on their smartphones. Only individuals who plan to shop for holiday gifts this year were surveyed.
Which is more popular for holiday shopping: Black Friday or Cyber Monday?
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are neck-and-neck in terms of their popularity among shoppers.
As you can see in the chart, half of shoppers (51%) said they’re completely or very likely to shop for gifts on Black Friday, with about the same number (52%) being similarly likely to shop on Cyber Monday.
Note: "Shopping," as defined in the survey, encompasses both in-store and online activities.
But this doesn't mean the two shopping events are equally important in every way.
In terms of dollars and cents, for instance, our survey suggests Black Friday remains the single most consequential day for buying holiday gifts.
Thirty-five percent of respondents identified Black Friday as the one day during the 2017 shopping season they expect to spend the most money on Christmas gifts. Compare this to 19% who plan to spend the majority of their dollars on Cyber Monday.
But let’s go even deeper.
Why are some shoppers put off by Black Friday and Cyber Monday?
But not everyone is terribly keen on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Black Friday, indeed, may be somewhat more polarizing than Cyber Monday. Whereas 25% of respondents said they’re not at all or not very likely to shop on Black Friday this year, only 16% showed the same level of repulsion toward Cyber Monday.
Field Agent asked these shoppers why they don't expect to shop on one or both of these premier shopping days.
Among those not very or not at all likely to shop on Black Friday (n = 498), two related reasons stood out:
- 66% - “'Crazy' stores/behavior of other shoppers"
- 63% - "Long lines/large crowds"
Since Cyber Monday emphasizes online promotions, it’s not surprising shoppers would cite altogether different reasons for sitting out Cyber Monday. Of those not very or not at all likely to shop on Cyber Monday (n = 333), their top reasons were:
- 33% - “I just prefer to shop for gifts in stores”
- 23% - “I’m too busy/tired with work”
Notably, only 5% of Cyber Monday-abstainers indicated they do not shop online at all.
What do shoppers plan to buy on Black Friday and Cyber Monday?
Consumer electronics may be the real beneficiaries of these two all-important days on the retail calendar.
Field Agent asked shoppers, “Identify the one product category you think you’ll spend the most time and effort shopping for this Black Friday.”
Of those completely or very likely to shop on Black Friday (n = 1,031), 35% said they’ll devote more attention to electronics like TVs and smartphones than any other category. Indeed, electronics eclipsed the second place category, toys (19%), by a full 16 percentage points.
Consumer electronics performed even more impressively among Cyber Monday shoppers (n = 1,035). Thirty-seven percent said they’ll devote more time and effort to electronic purchases on Cyber Monday than any other category, compared to only 16% for the runner-up, Toys.
How much will individual shoppers spend on Black Friday or Cyber Monday this year?
Field Agent asked respondents to approximate, roughly, the amount they'll spend on gifts this Black Friday and/or Cyber Monday.
Of those completely or very likely to purchase gifts this Black Friday (n = 1,031), respondents estimated they'll spend an average of $352.29 (median = $225) on gifts the day after Thanksgiving.
Let’s compare these numbers to Cyber Monday shoppers.
On average, 2017 Cyber Monday shoppers (i.e., those completely or very likely to shop on the day) plan to spend an average of $307.95 (median: $200). Numbers that are below yet roughly comparable to Black Friday.
Naturally, in most cases, respondents wouldn’t be able to accurately predict the amount they’ll spend on Black Friday and/or Cyber Monday. Yet this exercise does shed light on these shoppers’ expectations, which will ultimately influence their actual spending.
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- What gifts do shoppers plan to buy online...and where?
- What role will in-store pickup, showrooming, and webrooming play?
- How do shoppers intend to use mobile apps this holiday season?
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