Black Friday Is About Tradition As Much As Bargains, Survey Finds

NEW YORK, N.Y.– One-third of American adults plan to shop Black Friday this season, according to WSL/Strategic Retail, a leading authority on shopper behavior and trends. The finding was announced as part of the company’s How America Shops® Black Friday study, which found that shoppers consider Black Friday to be part of their holiday tradition, despite beliefs that they may get better deals online or on different sale days during the holidays.

“Black Friday is an event, an annual ritual that, for many, marks the opening of the holiday season,” said Wendy Liebmann, CEO of WSL/Strategic Retail. “The excitement of getting to stores early, hunting down hot items and even picking up a few special gifts for themselves, all factor into the emotional draw of Black Friday – often outweighing the promise of getting the lowest price.”

“The great news for retailers is that they can still count on Black Friday to bring in high-volumes of enthusiastic shopper traffic,” continued Candace Corlett, president of the firm. “However, the way they are shopping has changed. The notoriety for best bargains is slowly diminishing: a remarkable 88% of Black Friday shoppers are now aware that they can check promotion prices online beforehand to see if it’s worth making the trip.”

While a majority of Black Friday shoppers agree that the crowds have become too crazy (78%) and they may get better deals online and on Cyber Monday (67%), this does not discourage them from shopping. In fact:

  • 1/3 of all shoppers still consider Black Friday to be the best single day for holiday sales (although not quite as good as they used to be);
  • 80% of Black Friday shoppers say it is a good time to buy things for themselves;
  • 80% say shopping on Black Friday means they are able to get their holiday shopping done early;
  • More than 75% of Black Friday shoppers say they shop to get in the holiday spirit;
  • 60% say they shop Black Friday because it is a tradition for them.

The study also revealed that Black Friday shoppers are demographically very distinct, noting that half of shoppers are younger than 35 and the other half are parents that live with children. “Smart retailers have an opportunity to target their Black Friday promotions more effectively to this younger audience,” said Liebmann.

The How America Shops® Black Friday study was conducted as an online survey from Nov. 1-5, among 1,020 adult shoppers ages 18+.

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