2022 turned out to be a bumpy ride for both businesses and consumers. As we approach another Black Friday, this year’s holiday sale will come with its own challenges for brands to prepare for.
How will global economic uncertainty affect future Cyber Week sales? What influences consumer behavior in 2022? What are the dos and don’ts for a successful Black Friday? How can businesses demonstrate situational awareness and address buyers’ changing needs?
To answer these questions, let’s look at some fresh Black Friday statistics and turn them into actionable insights. You’ll learn to prepare for the biggest shopping event of the year and delight your customers.
Black Friday Fact 1: 59% of customers start their holiday shopping in August or September
Early shopping seems to have become the new norm. 83% of customers are fed up with the Christmas shopping frenzy and prefer to buy in a more relaxed fashion. 19% start shopping in August, 18% in September, 22% in October, and 24% in November (but before Cyber Week).
For most consumers, Black Friday has lost its appeal and become a regular chaotic sale. Just 9.6% of US-based buyers wait for Black Friday to start their holiday shopping.
There are a few reasons for this:
- Major retailers rarely offer generous online deals; some even raise their normal prices during Black Friday.
- The influx of holiday shoppers is responsible for notorious shipping delays and website crashes.
- Customers have fewer choices—just two-thirds of US businesses offer Black Friday deals, with only specific product categories being discounted.
- Product availability is often an issue during Cyber Week, leading to customer frustration.
Customers get more vigilant during this time and are quick to call out brands for artificially increasing prices ahead of Black Friday.
What this means: Account for early birds—start your promotions early and keep them around for longer. This means more build-up, diverse offers, nurturing email campaigns, and a lot of holiday talk beginning in September. Make sure that your Black Friday sale is the real deal. Customers do their research, see through fake discounts, and walk away if they realize that the seller is manipulating them.
Black Friday Fact 2: Half of consumers use smartphones to check out Cyber Week deals and place orders
Customers want to browse and shop on the go with ease. 57% of online shoppers use their mobile phones to discover and compare Black Friday deals, and 39.7% complete online purchases from their mobile devices.
As a result, customers expect frictionless buying experiences—intuitive and responsive websites, skimmable emails, quick signup forms, a straightforward checkout process, and so on. They won’t spend too much time on a clunky, dated online shop because they know another Black Friday offer is just around the corner.
What this means: Make it easy to buy from you. Test your online store’s mobile-friendliness and usability to ensure it works great on any device and is accessible to users with different needs and backgrounds. Create smooth experiences for your audience using email marketing automation and CRM tools made specifically for ecommerce businesses.
Black Friday Fact 3: 66% of customers care about sustainability when shopping
Black Friday, once clearly a feast of overconsumption, has slowly become a chance for green brands to step into the spotlight. The younger audience is more selective when shopping and eager to see more sustainability initiatives from their favorite brands.
What this means: Think of ways to make your Black Friday sale more eco-friendly, and let your customers know that your business cares for people and the planet. Offer recyclable packaging, send educational emails with eco-friendly tips, and incentivize in-store pick-ups.
Black Friday Fact 4: Raising social or environmental awareness can increase your sales by 5 times
Patagonia reached a record-breaking $10 million in sales right after announcing that it’d give 100% of its global retail and online Black Friday sales to grassroots nonprofit organizations fighting the environmental crisis and protecting nature.
The company expected to make $2 million in retail sales but made 5 times that due to its bold environmental pledge. Patagonia became a powerful example of how a big brand can stand up for its beliefs and values and “earn more by earning less.”
On another black Friday, Patagonia even explicitly asked its customers not to buy any new products, which boosted the customers’ devotion.
What this means: Social impact sets certain brands apart and makes them more desirable and respected in the long term. Prioritize a sustainable approach over quick wins, and make your Black Friday sale more meaningful for your audience. Create highly personalized, nurturing emails to let your customers know more about your brand’s mission.
Black Friday Fact 5: 88% of consumers like and support authentic, relatable brands
83% of consumers believe online retailers should provide more authentic and personalized shopping experiences. 59% of consumers say user-generated content resonates with them the most.
Now, more than ever, buyers are looking to support and purchase from brands that align with their values and showcase their authenticity—leaning toward small, bespoke, handmade, and unique brands. Buyers crave connections with the brands they are purchasing from.
What this means: Embrace your brand and what you stand for. Highlight that uniqueness and authenticity. It’s not just about talking about your special deals and creating anticipation. It’s about sharing more personal details about your business and the person behind it that is running it (you and your team!). Don’t be afraid to share details of how the product is made and where the business started. Take a peek behind the scenes at who you are and what you stand for.
Black Friday Fact 6: Inflation is another reason for early Black Friday deals
The rising cost of living is making consumers more cautious and reasonable. Black Friday online spending is predicted to decline in 2022 as more buyers cut back on non-essentials. And those who decide to shop are doing so in bulk to save more and maximize the value of their purchases.
Chris Slade, a consultant at Wunderman Thompson Commerce, notes that early digital sales don’t come as a surprise. This trend has been developing for some years and has reached its peak. Even Target launched its deals 7 weeks before Black Friday, and Amazon unveiled its Prime Early Access Sale in October.
What this means: Inflation changes how consumers spend. Introduce more early deals and encourage your customers to act quickly to get the best price. You can also benefit immensely from sending your target audience more personalized and relevant offers to prevent buyer’s remorse and subsequent returns.
Black Friday Fact 7: Cyber Monday has surpassed Black Friday, bringing $1.8 billion more in sales
In 2021, consumers spent $10.7 billion on Cyber Monday and $8.9 billion on Black Friday. During peak hours, shoppers spent $12 million every minute. The pandemic has made last-minute Cyber Monday online shopping more accessible, as many people have switched to a home office and now have more time to find compelling deals.
What this means: People tend to buy bigger-ticket items on Cyber Monday, which is good news for businesses. Try to change your tactic and use Black Friday to warm up your audience, but introduce your most attractive deals on Cyber Monday.
Black Friday Fact 8: 61% of consumers trust influencers’ product recommendations
More than half of customers stated that they find influencers more helpful and trustworthy than brands. Finally, 82% have either discovered or purchased a product after seeing it recommended by someone they trust. These 2 facts explain why big companies have doubled down on their influencer marketing.
What this means: Influencer marketing can help your sales get a boost—if you find niche opinion leaders your audience actually listens to. Creator campaigns are measurable, so you can quickly find out which creators bring you more leads and loyal customers.
How to reshape your Black Friday messaging for 2022 and beyond
Here are the key aspects you should consider when developing your Black Friday campaign.
- Above everything else, make sure that your brand is relatable and genuine. Today’s customers have a low tolerance for manipulative selling and superficial communication.
- Find niche influencers who’ll help reach your audience through their favorite channels.
- Identify and address your audience’s urgent needs and help them reach their goals through better Black Friday deals.
- Analyze customer context and empathize with customers before you launch your sale. Try to understand why they shop the way they do and how you can improve their experience.
- Make your Black Friday campaign more impactful by using your messaging to appeal to your customers’ emotional sides. Consider the sustainability aspect, and look for ways to give your sale a purpose other than to boost revenue.
Now, let’s look back at what past Black Friday trends taught us.
Lessons learned from Black Friday history
It helps to remember what Black Friday looked like just a few years ago.
Discount-seekers would wake up early, ready to storm physical stores looking for the best deals. Some would even spend the night before in a tent waiting for the store to open. Overwhelmed retail employees, in turn, would try to tame the chaos or get out of the way and focus on restocking shelves as quickly as possible.
Every Black Friday sale resembled a battlefield. You might remember the viral videos with customers going berserk and grabbing more products than they could possibly carry or even need.
We rarely see that now.
Today’s retailers focus on driving online sales, but only those that offer straightforward and smooth shopping experiences succeed. It’s not enough to open your doors on Black Friday and expect your customers to fight over discounted items. Now, consumers expect businesses to fight over their attention and bombard them with more personalized offers and meaningful campaigns.
The main lesson here is that brands have to be flexible and attentive to the changing consumer landscape. No Black Friday sale is the same—each year’s unique combination of societal and economic factors plays a huge role in how and when people spend money. Businesses must remain observant to spot and act on emerging tendencies and movements.
How should I announce Black Friday sales?
Use a variety of channels—email, chatbots, targeted ads, social media, notifications, SMS, and word-of-mouth marketing, for instance. Avoid generic messaging—instead, create segmented email lists and send your customers only the most relevant offers to spark their interest.
When should I start promoting Black Friday sales?
Start emailing in advance, especially if you’re launching early deals in September or October. Let your audience mentally prepare for the sale and put them in a buying mood ahead of time. However, the emails you send directly before Black Friday are the most crucial. Don’t lose the momentum after Black Friday—keep sending promotional emails on Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday.
How many emails should I send on Black Friday?
There’s no right answer—you need to experiment to learn what your target audience likes and their shopping habits. In general, you shouldn’t send more than 2 emails a day. Anything above that is likely to annoy your subscribers and make them avoid your sale altogether.
Get your Black Friday messages right every time
The sales statistics we’ve just looked at clearly show that Black Friday is a big opportunity—don’t miss the chance to make the most of it for your business. The ActiveCampaign Black Friday Toolkit has what you need to successfully prepare for the big event!