My favorite holiday of the year (Black Friday, of course) has recently come to a close and retailers are still giddy about the unprecedented levels of sales - even amid recession and inflation concerns. Despite it all, shoppers showed up and they showed up big. Here’s my take on the shopping behaviors and key trends we saw this year.
E-Commerce for the Win
Online Transactions Increase
Gone are the days of fighting outside a Walmart for first dibs on the TVs. This year, e-commerce was king throughout BFCM. In fact, data shows that online transactions increased +13% during the Black Friday weekend (from Friday to Cyber Monday) compared to 2021. Black Friday’s online sales even set a new record, topping $9 billion.
Despite the benefits of shopping in-person, perhaps the ability to bargain hunt across several tabs is what pushed so many consumers to search online this year. I did the same, although my avoidance of brick and mortar stores probably had more to do with trying to steer clear of the lumps of overstocked inventory that would’ve made my inner Allocation Analyst quiver in fear.
Alas, some analysts are predicting that inventory might remain high into the near future, despite consumer interest in categories with increased inventory levels. So there was good news for sales overall, especially online, but not so great news for inventory. Again.
The Roles of Discounts in BFCM
A Look at Shopper Behaviors
This year, the average Black Friday discount ticked up to 30%+, Salesforce data showed. It appears that the average shopper is taking the opportunity to treat themselves or a loved one to those non-essentials, like that Le Creuset Deep Dutch Oven at $200 (50% off) or that Dyson he’s been dreaming of (at $100 off). A quick note: if you are a man who bought these both for your wife, you better also have taken advantage of some jewelry deals.
“Our data shows such a strong correlation between discount rates and online sales as consumers held on for the biggest and best deals,” said Rob Garf, VP and GM of retail at Salesforce. “Consumers with stretched wallets are seeking value and price. And retailers responded on Black Friday with the steepest discount rates of the holiday season.”
The real question is: will sales continue through the holiday season or did buyers prioritize these discounts and finish all their shopping during BFCM weekend?
The Perfect Mix of Value & Speed
Preparing for Rising Consumer Preferences
As a member of Gen Z myself, I’m not surprised to hear that we represented the highest level of demand among Black Friday shoppers. We’re also a group that often throws curveballs at retailers. For example, I don’t necessarily purchase due to brand loyalty, but rather based on which brand has the ideal mix of value and speed I’m seeking. If a product isn’t in stock or in the exact shade of blue I’m looking for, I will scour the internet until I find it elsewhere.
Furthermore, it’s important to note the ways in which people purchased over BFCM this year. A record 48% of all e-commerce sales on Black Friday were made on smartphones (versus 44% in 2021). This is yet another reminder that brands must be prepared for mobile shoppers, higher expectations and increasing pickiness among consumers.
Re-Evaluate Your Planning & Buying
Now is the Time to Make Changes
While the trials of BFCM are still fresh, now is the time to consider how you can update your planning & buying processes based on the shifting landscape. Here at Toolio, we’ve seen the majority of our customers experience sales leaps from their initial plans - and it all came down to accurate inventory planning.
Arm your teams with strong tools to get through the rest of the holiday shopping season, into 2023 and for next year's Black Friday season; it will be here before we know it! Try a demo of Toolio today.