Deals

Why Black Friday may be a little “softer” this year

Morning Consult’s Claire Tassin breaks down what to expect on the big shopping day.
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Francis Scialabba

· 3 min read

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It’s that time of year again when shoppers awake from a tryptophan-induced sleep, rested and ready to drop $$ on major discounts. And while the turkey- and carb-generated coma may be the same as always, Black Friday could be a bit “softer” than in previous years, according to Claire Tassin, retail and e-commerce analyst at Morning Consult.

With earlier discounts, inflation, and omnichannel shopping in the mix, Tassin broke down how the big shopping day is changing this year.

Early birds: According to Morning Consult’s recent holiday 2022 report, 47% of consumers still plan to shop on Black Friday, which is on par with 2020 and 2021 levels. However, 84% of shoppers said discounts will be the deciding factor in what they get this season.

“When you look at the spread between 84 and 47, you realize people aren’t necessarily waiting for Black Friday to get those deals,” Tassin told us. “Target’s had Black Friday language on their homepage since October. We’re kind of hitting this question of ‘What does Black Friday mean anymore?’”

Black Friday “is losing its relevance” as a blockbuster shopping day, largely due to discounting events like Prime Day and Target Deal Days this October, Tassin said.

  • In its place has come a season of discounts with “varying levels of depth” that’s less centered around a day or weekend of shopping.

Price is right: Shoppers won’t likely look to Black Friday as a “solution” to inflation, Tassin said. Morning Consult found that those earning $100,000+ annually are more likely than those who earn less than that to shop on Black Friday, though people who are financially anxious and those who aren’t are equally likely to shop on the holiday.

“It’s not really the kind of balm for inflation,” she said. “It’s just another discount opportunity.”

On the line: Black Friday shopping is also moving more and more online, with 37% of consumers predicting they’ll get the best deals through e-commerce this year versus 28% who believe they’ll find them in stores, per Morning Consult.

“The era of lining up outside of a store for like those doorbuster deals doesn’t really exist anymore,” she said.

The shift online could eat into Cyber Monday, as the percentage of shoppers planning to participate in that online shopping day is down five percentage points from 2021 to 38%.

Don’t expect the barrage of deals to stop after Cyber Monday, either. “We’re far from out of the woods in terms of inflation,” Tassin said. “I still think that it’s going to be a hyper competitive discounting season.”

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