Black Friday and Cyber Monday are "neck-and-neck" when it comes to holiday shoppers' intentions this season, according to a report from shopper analytics and research firm Field Agent. Just over half (51%) told Field Agent that they're "completely" or "very" likely to shop for gifts on Black Friday, with about the same number (52%) similarly likely to shop on Cyber Monday, according to the report.
Those completely or very likely to purchase gifts this Black Friday expect to spend an average of $352.29 (median: $225) on gifts, while those completely or very likely to shop on Cyber Monday plan to spend an average of $307.95 (median: $200), Field Agent found. Overall, 35% of survey respondents identified Black Friday as the one day this year when they expect to spend the most money on holiday gifts, compared to 19% planning to spend the most on Cyber Monday.
But Black Friday remains polarizing, quite a bit more so than Cyber Monday, Field Agent research analyst and marketing manager Chris Medenwald wrote in a blog post this week. A quarter of respondents said they're not at all or not very likely to shop on Black Friday, with 66% of those shoppers citing "crazy" stores/behavior of other shoppers and 63% citing long lines/large crowds. The 16% who say they'll avoid Cyber Monday cited more low-key reasons like "I just prefer to shop for gifts in stores" (33%) or "I'm too busy/tired with work" (23%). "Notably, only 5% of Cyber Monday-abstainers indicated they do not shop online at all," Medenwald noted.
Black Friday has been under scruitny as of late, but this report corroborates other research finding that consumers, likely lured by special deals, intend to shop and spend good money that day.
The winner that day is destined to be electronics, followed by toys, according to Field Agent's research. Of those "completely or very likely" to shop on Black Friday, more than a third (35%) said they're more focused on electronics like TVs and smartphones than any other category; that surpasses the number two category, toys (19%), by 16 percentage points. But Cyber Monday does even better than Black Friday in those categories, with 37% saying 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.
Field Agent didn't even ask about Thanksgiving Day shopping, which has emerged as one of the most controversial holiday commerce days of all. More retailers than ever before have already signaled that they'll close for the holiday, according to research from holiday deals site Best Black Friday. Co-owner Phillip Dengler told Retail Dive in an email that he expects the list, now topping 55, to grow to more than 75.
Thanksgiving Day will be quieter compared to last year, according to marketing solutions firm Market Track. Less than a third (30%) of consumers surveyed said they would shop in-store this Thanksgiving, compared to half last year, Market Track said. PwC similarly found that 28% will do most of their shopping only online on Thanksgiving — up 10% from last year — while 17% will shop both online and in stores, and 13% will shop only in stores. Despite that trend and the growing backlash, Macy's, which sponsors the famous Thanksgiving Day parade, has opted to open its doors again this year.
REI and a one-store outdoor Seattle retailer, Outside Research, in the past two years went as far as closing, not just on Thanksgiving, but on Black Friday itself. In fact, many shoppers aren't shopping in stores that day, either. Just 40% of shoppers plan to hit stores on the famous red letter shopping day, according to Market Track, and PwC found 30% combining online and in-store shopping, and 19% shopping only in store. Nearly a third (30%) of consumers planned to do the majority of their Black Friday shopping only online, PwC found.
Indeed, in its report, Field Agent considers "shopping" to include online and in-store research and purchases, leaving open the fact that many Black Friday shoppers will avoid the frenzy in stores by going online that day. Salesforce earlier this month found that Black Friday will be the busiest digital shopping day in U.S. history, lapping Cyber Monday for the second year in a row. Cyber Week (Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday) will see the deepest discounts and the highest rate of free shipping (86% of all orders), according to Salesforce's number crunching.