Consumers spend despite threat of recession on Black Friday and Cyber Monday
During this year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping period, record inflation and concerns about a looming recession couldn’t compete with consumers’ desire to spend and grab some rare savings. As a result, they showed up in droves for these holiday shopping events and spent a record amount. Despite a majority of Americans feeling like the country is already in a recession (67% according to an NIQ survey), their actions tell a different story.
NIQ surveyed U.S. consumers during both Black Friday and Cyber Monday to learn what they were shopping for, what they thought of the deals, and how much they were spending.
What consumers purchased
Black Friday shoppers took advantage of deal prices on traditional gifting categories (more so than early holiday deal days) yet groceries and everyday essentials still had a strong presence on shopping lists. On the other hand, traditional gifting items dominated shopping carts during Cyber Monday.
Overall, there was a significant overlap between Black Friday and Cyber Monday purchases:
- About two-thirds of Cyber Monday respondents also shopped on Black Friday.
- The top three categories purchased were the same across both days: Electronics, Clothing Shoes and Accessories, and Toys.
- “Finding gifts for other people” as well as “To get some good deals” were the top two reasons given for shopping on each day.
The need to save drove purchases
It’s hard to ignore the impact inflation had on shopping events this year. With limited opportunities to save, consumers on both days either spent more or the same amount as they did during last year’s events.
Similarly, 71% of Cyber Monday shoppers indicated they spent more or the same amount as last year’s shopping event. This was especially true for Gen Z (18-24) consumers, where this figure was closer to 82%.
Cyber Monday did not see quite as much overall spend as Black Friday, however, with about half of respondents spending over $100 dollars on Cyber Monday while 75% of shoppers spent over $100 on Black Friday this year.
Consumers also felt they received better deals this year for both shopping events, with around 80% of respondents saying this year’s deals were better than or equal to last year’s deals.
A return to in-store
Interestingly, in-store shopping made a comeback during Black Friday, with 80% of survey respondents having made some in-store purchases. This was more prominent with younger shoppers, as 40% of shoppers 55-64 and 56% of shoppers 65+ did all their Black Friday shopping online.
Promoting Cyber Monday
Respondents found out about Cyber Monday deals through a retailer’s website (45%), social media ads (41%), and via email (38%).
TV ads also still have a place on Cyber Monday, as more respondents found out about sales through them (31%) than through Influencers (14%), live streams (10%), and word of mouth (22%).
Giving Tuesday intent
Giving Tuesday follows Cyber Monday and encourages consumers to give back to worthy causes. However, only 19% of consumers surveyed noted that they plan to donate, with participants skewing younger, with the 18-24 age group most likely to make a donation, followed by the 35-44 group and the 25-34 group.
Holidays continue to fuel CPG
Entering into this holiday season, there was much trepidation about the willingness of consumers to spend on CPG. After all, when it comes to CPG sales, holidays fuel overall retail sales, says Carman Allison, NielsenIQ Vice President of Thought Leadership, North America.
“The top sales week is the week prior to Christmas, with the week before Thanksgiving coming in second with average weekly sales increasing by +15% and +7%, respectively,” Allison says. “However, the week following Thanksgiving is the worst performing week with weekly sales declining by -8%. Despite lower sales overall, we do see a growing importance of Grocery retailers taking advantage of Black Friday and Cyber Monday activities. For example: For the week of Black Friday, average weekly promotional sales for CPG increase +20%.”
Global Holiday Hub
See how shoppers plan to spend around the holidays—from online shopping events to in-person celebrations—with NielsenIQ’s Global Holiday Hub.