Why Black Friday Is Alive and Well
Over the past few years, there’s been considerable speculation that Black Friday is mattering less. That’s because major retailers such as Amazon and Walmart moved up Black Friday-style sales throughout the fall. Pre-empting Black Friday was especially apparent in 2020, when retailers needed to be resourceful with the COVID-19 pandemic discouraging in-store shopping. But in 2022, the hallowed shopping day is showing signs of life although it’s no longer an exclusively offline event. To wit:
- Amazon’s Fall Prime Day Sale, while popular, did not rake in the cash that it was expected to generate. According to consumer data firm Numerator, the average order size during the Prime Early Access sale in October was $46.68, down nearly 23 percent from Prime Day in July. Numerator said the most popular categories sold were in order, household essentials, health and beauty, apparel and shoes, toys and video games, and electronics. Interestingly, only 29 percent of Fall Prime Day shoppers said they used the sale to buy holiday gifts, and 95 percent said they’re likely to shop Amazon for more gifts as the season continues. This suggests that shoppers are holding out for more shopping down the road, which bodes well for Black Friday.
- According to the National Retail Federation, holiday shoppers will spend at a healthy pace albeit at a slower one than previous years. The NRF says that holiday retail sales during November and December will grow between 6 percent and 8 percent over 2021 to between $942.6 billion and $960.4 billion. Last year’s holiday sales grew 13.5 percent over 2020 and totaled $889.3 billion – but of course in 2022, shoppers are up against chronic inflation and economic uncertainty. The NRF expects that online and other non-store sales, which are included in the total, to increase between 10 percent and 12 percent to between $262.8 billion and $267.6 billion. This figure is up from $238.9 billion last year, which saw incredible growth in digital channels as consumers turned to online shopping to meet their holiday needs during the pandemic.
- One in five consumers planning to shop for the holidays say they’ll spend less because their economic situation has changed, according to an NPD survey. More than a third of U.S. consumers can’t afford gifts this year due to inflation and higher costs of living, and nearly half plan to spend less this season, according to research from Credit Karma. But that may mean that they’re waiting to shop, as 40 percent told Credit Karma that they are waiting for annual sales, including Black Friday.
- On the other hand, retailers such as Target and Walmart are pumping up Black Friday, but they’re once again extending the day throughout November. Walmart is running three Black Friday style deals throughout November, including Cyber Monday. This of course suggests that retailers are hedging their bets as Amazon has done with its October Prime Day sale. Based on Amazon’s experience, retailers should expect more hold-outs for Black Friday weekend November 25-28 (counting Cyber Monday). One reason: retailer are carrying a lot of inventory in 2022. Consumers are in a stronger position. They know it. And they’ll expect more deals as 2022 comes to a close during the biggest shopping day of the year.
Advice for Brands
- Don’t let up your Black Friday Weekend ad spend. If you’ve already budgeted for a strong weekend, nothing has happened to make anyone change course. Black Friday Weekend is likely to be as big or even bigger thanks to cautious consumers holding out for deals.
- Accept the reality that deals will drive sales more than ever. Discounted products and lower-priced alternatives to name-brand products are going to win the day, as reported in The Wall Street Journal. House brands are going to have a strong year.
- Complement your online advertising approach with strong organic content that amplifies your holiday deals. Google just released a number of features to do that. For instance, Google added new ways to find deals across the web using Google Search through new coupons and promotions, side-by-side deal views, and a new price insights navigator. Clearly, Google wants more retailers to manage their product listings on Google!
Contact True Interactive
True Interactive has deep experience helping clients plan and implement holiday shopping campaigns online. We can help you, too. We understand how to create nimble search campaigns and multi-channel ad outreach to target consumers with the right message at the right time. Contact us to learn more.
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