How are consumers feeling about Black Friday 2018? According to research that Periscope By McKinsey recently conducted, more than 70 percent of consumers surveyed in the U.S., U.K., Germany and Canada plan to participate in this highly anticipated shopping event. The research explored how consumers planned to shop, what they intended to buy, how much they expected to spend, and whether they would be heading in-store or online to make their purchases. Highlights from the findings follow:
What Motivates Shoppers?
Asked to evaluate the top motivational factors for participating in Black Friday, 54 percent or more of consumers in all countries surveyed said taking advantage of steep discounts was their primary reason. The opportunity to encounter unique “one off” promotions was the second most motivating factor, followed closely by making Christmas gift purchases.
Looking at other factors, the results shine a light on how a growing number of shoppers have come to welcome and expect personalized messages and offers for Black Friday. European consumers are almost twice as interested in receiving personalized offers than their North America counterparts. Twenty-two percent of German and 21 percent of U.K. shoppers listed personalized messages as being a key consideration for them, while 14 percent of U.S. and 11 percent of Canadian shoppers highlighted this as being an important motivational factor. By comparison, just over 4 percent of both U.S. and U.K. respondents to our 2017 survey said personalized Black Friday offers motivate them, showing a growing interest in these types of messages.
In What Categories and Through Which Channels do Consumers Intend to Shop?
Clothing was the top category on consumer shopping lists in all countries surveyed, with consumer electronics in second place. While online leads strongly as the primary method consumers plan to use when shopping for consumer electronics, 54 percent of U.S. and 50 percent of Canadian consumers prefer offline shopping when it comes to selecting new clothes. Movies, books and music emerged as the third most popular product category for U.S. and Canadian shoppers, while German and U.K. shoppers opted for beauty and fragrances as their third most popular category.
Even in “big ticket” categories in which consumers have traditionally exhibited offline purchasing behaviors — e.g., furniture, household appliances, cars — there are indications that a growing number of consumers are now prepared to head online to snap up Black Friday deals.
Despite stating a clear objective to participate in Black Friday, consumers appear to be keeping their options wide open when it comes to exactly what they will purchase — and from whom. Asked to evaluate their pre-Black Friday shopping preparations, an average 82 percent of respondents in all countries surveyed admitted doing no, or very little, pre-planning with regards to which stores or products they’ll seek out on the day. This indicates that consumers are prepared to play the waiting game in anticipation of truly tempting offers that capture their attention or stimulate them to buy.
Consumers Allocate Sizable Budgets for This Year’s Purchases
The research indicates consumers are planning to spend more on purchases compared to previous years, reaffirming Black Friday’s increasingly pre-eminent position as one of the most significant revenue-generating opportunities in the retail calendar. For example, 16 percent of U.S. shoppers expect to spend $1,000 or more, with an additional 22 percent budgeting $500 for Black Friday purchases.
With consumers game to participate and shop via multiple channels this coming Black Friday, retailers and brands looking to extract maximum value from the event should ensure they start early to stimulate the wants and needs of their customers. By activating their data with advanced analytics systems, they can create targeted and personal campaigns to attract high numbers of shoppers and secure big basket orders.
Brian Elliott is founder, senior advisor and head of innovation at Periscope By McKinsey, a marketing and sales analytics solutions provider.