Black Friday: Retail statistics and tips

[NEW RESOURCE ALERT] Take the guesswork out of creating high-converting promotional campaigns. Use our battle-tested Coupon Swipe File full of discount & promo examples from leading grocers across the globe.
Black Friday tips for retailers

For retailers large and small, Black Friday — or the following day, Small Business Saturday — this season of sales often makes a big difference in their overall profitability. Businesses extend store hours, hire additional employees, and brace for the early morning rush. While the feel and sales timeline of the traditional Black Friday craze has adjusted due to stores opening at different times and, of course, online shopping, it remains as one of the most important shopping days of the year.

Ever since the start of the modern Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1924, the Friday after Thanksgiving has been known as the unofficial start to a bustling holiday shopping season.

This shopping hallmark day comes with deals and savings opportunities some look forward to all year long. And with a day that often brings families together, these shopping ventures often include people of all ages. It kicks off the holiday shopping season and does so with numerical strength and profitability.

In this article, you will learn:

  • Black Friday Statistics (Top Picks)
  • Loyal Guru’s top tips for Black Friday 2022
  • Black Friday Frequently Asked Questions
  • Black Friday opportunities for retailers
  • Major Black Friday drawbacks for retailers
  • Conclusion

From a one-day sprint to a multi-day marathon

Black Friday is no longer a one-day affair.

In America, Thanksgiving Day (the day before) provided a natural restraint to bringing it forward. But online retailing has changed all that and physical retailers fought back by opening their doors on the holiday.

In 2011, Walmart famously opened its doors on the Thursday evening, breaking the midnight curfew for the first time. By 2018 Thanksgiving Day achieved the 3rd greatest online sales of any day in America, behind Cyber Monday and Black Friday.

Black friday

Black Friday Statistics (Top Picks):

  • Average savings on Black Friday specials were 24%.
  • Average order values increased by 9% in 2021.
  • 56% of Black Friday shoppers make purchases for themselves, as well as 35% buy holiday gifts during Black Friday sales.
  • Black Friday 2021 saw 88 million Americans shopping online while 66.5 million Americans shopped in-store during Black Friday 2021.
  • The total revenue for Black Friday’s sales in 2020 was estimated to amount to around $188 billion.
  • 116.5 million emails were sent on Black Friday 2021, and 106 million emails were sent on Cyber Monday.
  • Black Friday online shopping sales hit $8.9bn in US in 2021.
  • Nearly 43% of Black Friday sales happened through mobile phones.
  • Nearly 60% of Black Friday shoppers buy based on impulse, while just over 42% plan ahead and view a product in advance of buying.
  • Physical stores saw 19.5% fewer shoppers than in pre-pandemic 2019, still recovering from the 2020’s 33.1% plunge in holiday in-store shopping.
  • Email is responsible for 20% of online holiday site visits, and consumers who purchase products through email are likely to spend 138% more than people who don’t receive email offers.
  • Cart abandonment rates in the US during Black Friday 2020 were as high as 79.83%. That is why 4 in 5 retailers run cart abandonment campaigns.

Sources: Adobe, Statista, Bluecore, Campaign Monitor, Techcrunch

Loyal Guru’s top tips for Black Friday 2022

1. Go fast and go early to avoid a one-day bonanza

Act to flatten demand peaks. By doing so, it will help flatten the usual Black Friday sales peak, protect your operations and brand. Retailers are already communicating this to consumers. In the US, Home Depot has declared that Black Friday prices will begin in early November. Macy’s has made reference to its “Fabulous Fall Sales” and J C Penney is alerting shoppers to its “BeautiFALL Sale”.

2. Drive sales online and make it easy to shop on mobile devices.

Leading retailers have achieved 6 years worth of progress and development in their online businesses in 6 months as they reorient their operations towards online and app solutions.

Optimisation and lightning-fast execution are game changers. Underestimate the importance of smartphones at your peril

Mobile devices sales driver

3. Promote click-and-collect or buy-online-pick-in-store as a channel of choice.

Both in-store and curbside collection will ease the pressure on home delivery services which will inevitably be stretched.

4. Monitor sales in real time MONITOR SALES IN REAL TIME.

With more shoppers turning to ordering online, retailers should monitor sales and amend website operations in real time to prevent marketing products that have already sold out and so manage customer satisfaction ratings.

5. Stay shut on Thanksgiving in US.

Consumers have become more loyal to retailers who have taken care of their employees and local communities during the pandemic.

Many of the biggest retailers in the States have announced that they will remain closed on Thanksgiving, reversing the trend of recent years.

Black Friday FAQs

Why is it called Black Friday?

The retail term “Black Friday” was coined in the 1960s by Philadelphia police dealing with crowds of shoppers, but many look at the name through an accounting lens too. “Black” refers to stores moving from the “red” to the “black,” back when accounting records were kept by hand, and red ink indicated a loss and black ink indicated a profit.

How many seasonal workers do retailers hire over the holiday season?

To help keep shelves stocked and lines moving along, retailers often hire seasonal workers for the holidays, often starting around the Black Friday kickoff. The NRF noted that in 2019, between 530,000 and 590,000 workers to meet the increased sales and product demands.

How much does the average American spend on Black Friday?

The average Black Friday spending in 2021 came in at $430. This was around 5% higher than the average of $410 spent in 2020.

Black friday spend average
How do people shop on Black Friday?
  • 39% of sales on Black Friday in 2019 were made through a smartphone.
  • Desktop sales accounted for 59% of online purchases on Black Friday.
  • People still like to shop in-store: 25% of shoppers will travel 15+ miles for a deal.
  • Use of chatbots for online shoppers grew 16% for online retailers on Black Friday.
  • Omnichannel retailers see higher average order values: $82 more vs. online only and $49 more vs. in-store.
What was the online sales revenue of Black Friday vs Cyber Monday in US over the last few years?
Black Friday6,2bn7,4bn9,0bn8,9bn
Cyber Monday7,9bn9,4bn10,8bn10,7bn
Black Friday vs Cyber Monday
What was the share of online sales by retailer during Black Friday 2021?

Amazon (24%), Best Buy (7%), Walmart (4,6%), Macy’s (2.9%) and Kohl’s are major online players on Black Friday. Amazon accounted for 17.7% of all Black Friday sales.

What was the share of total sales by retailer during Black Friday 2021?
Retailer2021vs YA
Best Buy4,6%-0,8%
Share of total sales by retailer during Black Friday
Amazon sales
How much does online traffic grow during Black Friday?
% change in online traffic, typical day in 2021 to black friday 2021Black friday 2021 to black friday 2020
Sporting goods127%-2%
Specialty gifts110%-18%
Health & Beauty86%-15%
Home goods61%-9%
Consumer electronics17%-17%
Online traffic growth
What is Black Friday online sales conversion rate by device?
DeviceConversion rate
Tablet 4,8%
Online sales conversion rate by device
What factors influence buyers’ decisions during Black Friday?

Free shipping (49%), promotions (36%), easy-to-use webite and app (21%) and buy-online-pick-in-store (BOPIS) (20%) are key factors that motivate shoppers in their purchase decision.

What is the percentage of first-time buyers vs repeat customers across verticals on Black Friday 2021?
1st-time buyers2nd-time buyers3rd-time buyers4th-time buyers
Consumer electronics89%5%2%1%
Home goods61%15%6%4%
Sporting goods60%18%9%5%
Specialty gifts 57%18%10%5%
Apparel 43%15%9%6%
Health and beauty35%17%10%7%
Source: Bluecore

Did the number of transactions and the AOV increase or decrease in 2021 vs 2020?

IndustryChange # of orders black friday 2020 to 2021Change in AOV black friday 2020 to 2021
Sporting goods-15%14%
Home goods-16%24%
Specialty gifts-16%6%
Consumer electronics-23%-4%
Health & beauty-25%6%
Number of transactions and AOV

Black Friday 2022

When is Black Friday 2022 date?

The 2022 Black Friday falls on November 25, and Cyber Monday will follow on November 28. Sales will likely kick off around two weeks before the actual event, which is November 11.

What can retailers expect with Black Friday sales 2022?

  • Experts expect big savings on the latest smartphones, the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. Also, there’s some potential for some attractive offers across Apple’s catalog, including the iPhones 13 and the latest MacBooks.
  • According to the Deloitte Pre-Thanksgiving Pulse Survey, 66% of people say they plan to buy clothing and accessories during the Black Friday sales.
  • Other popular categories include toys and hobbies, consumer electronics and electronic accessories, and food and beverage.
  • The least popular category was travel and dining and only 14% say they plan to spend money on these things during the Black Friday weekend.

Big Black Friday opportunities for retailers

Let’s take a closer look at why Black Friday is good for businesses.

Harnessing the power of technology to scale retail

Especially during the busy holiday shopping season, connecting with customers is key.

Smartphones have transformed the way people shop, including on such an important retail day as Black Friday. With instant access to add something to a cart and complete a purchase, smartphones have made it that much easier to participate in the exclusive opportunities of the day.

Apps and chatbot services have seen impressive growth over the past years as more people are going mobile. In fact, from 2018-2019, there was a 16% increase in first-time users for retail apps. These apps can be highly beneficial in finding deals and track your purchases or sales through. Engaging with chatbots can also be an easy way to answer questions. Using resources like chatbots and apps can easily improve a customer’s experience and increase the likelihood that they’ll be a repeat customer.

Increased traffic, sales and revenue

The most significant advantage of the Black Friday sales weekend is demand.

According to the NRF, 100 million people shopped online during the 2020 Black Friday weekend.

During Black Friday, customers are more receptive to new products. If retailers capitalize on the demand, they can turn Black Friday sale into a success.

New customer acquisition

Black Friday gives retailers a golden opportunity to acquire new customers. Some of these may even bring in revenue that goes past Christmas shopping.

Establishing brand presence

Black Friday is an opportunity for your brand to become known. During the shopping weekend, customers are actively researching brands. If your brand stands out, customers will surely notice you.

Major Black Friday drawbacks for retailers

Despite its benefits, there are also a few downsides to Black Friday:

Pressure to offer deals they can’t afford, since big discounts are the norm

They also might need a big marketing budget to get visibility during Black Friday. During the Thanksgiving weekend of 2020, businesses spent 2-3x more on digital ads compared to their November average.

Retailers can decrease ad investment with strategic actions planned in advance, such as leveraging low-cost marketing channels like emails and social media, focusing on increasing sign-ups to their loyalty program throughout the year or improving social media presence before the holiday sales.

Tight competition, especially from industry giants

Black Friday is a time of great bargains for customers and high competition for sellers. Obviously, retailer’s short-term profit margins are going to be low, even if the sales volume is high.

Cutting through this competition can be difficult.

Retailers will need a great marketing strategy to stand out from the crowd and should focus their advertising on awesome products, amazing offers, unique storytelling and excellent social proof.

When retailers promote offers for new customers (AKA customer acquisition), it may yield mixed results for their loyal customer base

Retailers may get a lot of customers who are only there for the freebies and discounted prices, and may not ever become loyal to the retailer or brand.

To address the problem, you could offer existing customers deals that show your business isn’t all about acquisition but also retention. The deals could range from reduced membership fees to exclusive offers for existing members.

Websites can crash due to the increased visitor count

If a store expects tens or hundreds of thousands extra online visitors during Black Friday, retailers need to make sure their website can scale up to handle the traffic.

Customer support can get overwhelmed

Retailers might also get additional service requests from new customers during Black Friday, so they may also need to give their customer service a boost.

Final Thoughts: Key Considerations of Black Friday Sales

Hopefully, these Black Friday statistics above helped you gain some knowledge of this epic shopping weekend.

In essence, Black Friday sales offer an excellent opportunity to make whopping revenues. But, they also pose many challenges, especially to small businesses.

As a retailer, if you’re tempted to jump into the shopping holiday, make sure you carefully consider the pros and cons of Black Friday before doing so. The rest will come down to preparation.

Get in touch with one of our team to learn more. We’ll be happy to show you examples or talk through your brand’s unique challenges.