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How Black Friday Shopping Behaviors Are Changing

The trends retailers need to know

As Thanksgiving rapidly approaches, the holiday shopping season is kicking into overdrive. Retailers are ready for the surge in consumer spending on Black Friday, but what shopper behaviors should they expect? We break down three key trends for the holiday weekend. 

Consumers Are Already on the Lookout for Deals  

Earlier this year, we saw signs that Black Friday had transformed from a weekend event into a weekslong shopping marathon

According to RetailMeNot, messaging about Black Friday began nearly a week earlier this year than in 2017, and consumers have already started showing their spending power. While US online sales increased just 13.3% in the first nine days of November, online sales jumped 25.7% year over year between November 10 and 12, according to Adobe

Similarly, data from JLL  found that more than a third (34.4%) of US consumers plan to start shopping before Thanksgiving compared with 29.9% last year, while a separate survey from Citi Retail Services indicated that nearly seven in 10 US adults plan to start holiday shopping before or on Black Friday.

Physical Stores Still Matter... 

Even with the convenience of ecommerce, consumers sometimes go out of their way to shop in-store. Black Friday is no exception. 

According to ICSC, 45% of shoppers plan to visit stores on Black Friday, and another 71% of Thanksgiving weekend shoppers plan to go to a mall or shopping center. 

Meanwhile, separate data from Euclid, found that millennials (37%) are more inclined than Gen Xers (14.5%) and boomers (6%) to shop in-store on Thanksgiving and Black Friday.

... But So Does Omnichannel

The number of omnichannel Black Friday shoppers continues to rise—from 24.3% in 2017 to 35.6% this year, according to—while the number of in-store shoppers remains relatively steady. 

According to a McKinsey survey, nearly half of shoppers (48%) plan to shop both online and in-store on Black Friday, while 14% said mostly in-store and 4% said in-store only. 

Mobile Continues to Grow 

Every year mobile plays a stronger role in holiday salesSalesforce estimates that this year, mobile phones will be responsible for more online orders than desktop (46% vs. 44%).

According to Bizrate Insights, mobile will play the largest role on Cyber Monday, with 38% of US holiday shoppers planning to use a smartphone or tablet. Nearly as many (35%) will use mobile on Black Friday. 

A recent App Annie survey found that internet users will spend 25% more time in shopping apps on Android devices in the two weeks surrounding Thanksgiving and 30% more on Thanksgiving Day.