What people think about Black Friday

At our Peak Connect conference a few weeks back we ran some live research with Toluna – asking 1,000 people a few questions about peak and Black Friday, to help inform debate at the event.

Here is what we found from this research.

Shopper intentions

The first question we asked was ‘when do you plan to start buying Xmas gifts this year?’ and the findings were interesting, given the new shape of peak trading from retailers’ perspectives – where the real upturn in sales activity for many is now directly linked to the launch of the Black Friday period.

The majority (65%) said they would start before the Black Friday period, with 15% planning to do so in mid-November, 21% in early November and 29% before November. This may reflect a continuation of a trend that emerged following the beginning of the economic downturn in 2008, where people began to spread the costs of Xmas shopping over a longer period, extending peak into October.

Clearly we can’t tell from the survey how much of their shopping they intend to complete in that timeframe, but it does indicate perhaps that shoppers still plan the gifts they buy carefully rather than just impulsively reacting to heavily discounted goods on Black Friday. Indeed just 4% said they would start buying Xmas gifts during the Black Friday week, with less than 1% starting either on the day itself or over the Black Friday weekend.

10% said they would begin in early December, with a further 10% saying they had no idea.

Shopper attitudes

The second question we asked concerned attitudes – ‘how do you feel about major discount sales events like Black Friday?’.

24.5% said they either hate or dislike them, with 31.5% saying they either love or like them. The remaining 44% had no strong feelings either way.

If we compare this to a similar survey we ran with eDigitalResearch last year, on the surface it would appear attitudes have softened slightly – that survey found the love / like and hate / dislike split to be very similar, at around 30% for each.

While the 2016 survey found less people expressing negative attitudes toward major discount sales events, this was likely influenced by the fact that there was no repeat in 2015 of the in-store scuffles we saw during Black Friday 2014. However, these people do not appear to have reversed their opinion and stated that they now feel positively toward them, instead the percentage of those with ‘no strong feelings either way’ has risen – which could suggest more shoppers are experiencing a growing sense of fatigue in relation to all the marketing noise they are exposed to over the Black Friday period.

Further reading

You can view the full results of the Toluna survey here.

You can also download our peak preview report, published at the Peak Connect conference and supported by Salmon, here.


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