Black Friday 2017
is riding high
An annual survey to better understanding changing
consumer attitudes to Black Friday and explore
how they plan to shop for the 2017 seasonExecutive summary
Marking the unofcial start of the Christmas shopping season, Black
Friday falls on the day after the American Thanksgiving public holiday
– a day when US retailers traditionally ofer hefty discounts designed to
tempt families into stores to pick up bargains.
In recent years, UK retailers have followed the lead of their US counterparts, offering in-
store and online promotions and deals designed to capture the imaginations and wallets of
consumers in the run up to Christmas.
This year’s Black Friday shopping extravaganza falls on 24 November 2017. As retailers on
both sides of the Atlantic prepare to gear up for the event, the Black Friday 2017 Shopping
Report provides deep insights into consumer expectations surrounding Black Friday –
alongside a detailed snapshot of their shopping intentions and potential behaviors on the day.
This year’s survey examines:
their motivations for doing so
consumers and how much they anticipate spending compared to last year
of digital channels win out over shopping in the physical store
This is the second year that Periscope by McKinsey has polled consumers to evaluate how
they plan to shop on Black Friday.
In this year’s survey we’ve gone deeper than before. As well as asking consumers to share
their views around personalized marketing, we also explore if the ‘buy online, pick-up in-store’
omnichannel proposition is likely to incentivize consumers into making an online Black Friday
purchase with one retailer over another.
As the industry gets ready to jump-start this year’s Black Friday preparations, the fndings of
the Black Friday 2017 Shopping Report deliver clear predictions on how shoppers will behave
on the day, together with actionable insights that can help retailers leverage potential revenue
opportunities on what has become one the most signifcant shopping events of the year.Key fndings: consumers are more
Deal fever grips consumers – with UK shoppers most enthused
The fndings from this year’s survey1 indicate that consumer expectations around Black Friday
are riding high. Of the 3,226 respondents (2,585 from US and 641 from UK) who originally
participated in the survey2, almost half (44%) of US consumers confrmed they will be
shopping this Black Friday – compared to just 26% who signalled they planned to participate
in 2016 and 23% who were undecided.
Are you planning on shopping for the “Black Friday” deals during the period after
Thanksgiving this year
Answered: 2585Skipped: 0Answered: 641Skipped: 0
The popularity of Black Friday in the UK, however, has spiked considerably. An impressive
81% of UK consumers said they intend to shop this Black Friday – compared to just 22% who
anticipated getting involved in 2016 and 30% who were on the fence. So, what’s driving this
stark jump in intent on both sides of the Atlantic
1 In October 2017, Periscope conducted online research to understand consumer attitudes toward Black Friday 2017 and their
expected shopping patterns. The web-based survey targeted consumers in the United States and the United Kingdom aged
between 18 and 60+. The survey samples were equally weighted between male/female respondents in both territories.
2 The survey polled a total of 3,226 consumers of whom 1,552 respondents (1,136 US consumers, 510 UK consumers) qualifed as
planning to shop for Black Friday deals.Despite weak wage growth and higher infation, UK consumers are defying expectations and
continuing to spend – for these cash-pressed consumers, Black Friday may represent an
opportunity to make big ticket purchases at discount prices and get Christmas gift purchases
underway. In the US, meanwhile, consumer confdence has been steadily returning and
hit a fve-month high in August 2017, buttressed by strengthening optimism about current
Consumer sentiment around Black Friday is encouraging –
positive attitudes abound
Consumers appear to be embracing Black Friday as a shopping event to look forward to –
especially those that opt to go online to make purchases.
Almost one-third of all respondents (30% of UK consumers and 29% of US consumers) said it
was one of their favorite shopping events, with 37% of UK shoppers and 25% of US shoppers
saying they’ve grown to like it more, shopping more online and avoiding the in-store crowds.
How have your attitudes towards Black Friday changed in recent years
I think it is a marketing trick, as prices
rise in the build-up to try and convince
me I am getting a great deal
I have grown to like it
more as I shop online
I am more interested in
Amazon Prime days
Promotions are never on
products that I am interested
in, so I have lost interest
It is one of my favorite
I have always disliked
shopping on Black Friday
Answered: 1042 Skipped: 1543
Answered: 510 Skipped: 131
36.86%This positive attitude also appears to have undermined previous consumer skepticism around
the reality of the deals encountered during the event. Just 12% of UK consumers and 13%
of US consumers expressed concerns that Black Friday was a marketing trick, with retailers
artifcially infating prices prior to the event to convince shoppers they’re getting a great deal.
This represents a considerable improvement in consumer sentiment compared to last year’s
survey, when cynicism surrounding Black Friday appeared to be rampant among US (28%)
and UK (40%) shoppers. Either retailers are winning trust with more authentic offers that
ring true with consumers and drive engagement – or consumers are becoming savvier at
evaluating the true value of the deal options they encounter.
Worryingly, 7% of US shoppers and 3% of UK consumers say they’ve become disillusioned
with the event since the promotions on offer are never on products they’re interested in
buying. As a result, they’ve lost interest in participating. If retailers are able to leverage known
customer intelligence to deliver more personalized offers to engage these shoppers, then the
incremental sales rewards could deliver an impressive boost to the bottom line.
Shopper motivations: expectations of ‘one-of’ promotions and
steep discounts drive buying behaviors
For consumers, Black Friday has become synonymous with special promotions not available
at other times of the year. As a top motivating factor for 37% of US and 38% of UK shoppers,
retailers will need to be sure they deliver on this key promise with enticing ‘one-off’ offers that
are unique and differentiated – or risk disappointing consumers and switching them off from
participating in future years.
As expected, steep discounting was the second primary motivation for consumers; 36% of
US and 48% of UK respondents said they would be on the hunt for truly tempting offers.
Interestingly, this expectation was down on 2016 fgures, when 44% of US and 65% of UK
consumers said the anticipation of big discounts was driving their purchasing intentions.
One thing is clear. While Black Friday has been an established annual shopping tradition in the
US for many years, UK consumers have enthusiastically embraced this imported shopping
holiday. In the US, 12.5% of consumers confrm their participation in the event has become
a custom (up from 6% last year), while 7% of UK shoppers say it’s becoming a traditional
activity for them (up from 1% last year).
Asked what would spur them to make a purchase, just 4% of US consumers and 5% of UK
consumers anticipate being inspired by a personalized discount – indicating that retailers are
potentially missing a major opportunity by putting their marketing efforts into the generation of
blanket mass or untargeted offers.
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