Why Did Some Shoppers Bail on Black Friday?

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Recent data shows that Black Friday, as a one-day shopping event, is gradually losing impact. Early holiday gift shopping trends for 2016 indicate that more shoppers are taking advantage of Black Friday deals that start early in November and extend into December rather than focusing on a single day. Also, Super Saturday is poised to surpass Black Friday as the busiest shopping day of the holiday season as more consumers, especially millennials, shop later in the season.

InfoScout had a simple question for “defectors” – those who shopped on Black Friday in 2015 but decided to pass on Black Friday this year: Why?

The answers may surprise you.

The natural assumption is that people just don’t want to deal with the madness that has become synonymous with Black Friday. Huge crowds, long lines, and fighting for parking spaces don’t exactly fill people with joy during the most wonderful time of the year.

In fact, this was the top reason why people who shopped on Black Friday in 2014 decided to skip Black Friday last year, as 44% of respondents to last year’s survey said the craziness wasn’t worth it. However, that number dropped to 25% in our 2016 survey.

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This year, more people just couldn’t afford to shop yet, as 26% of survey respondents felt they weren’t financially ready to shop on Black Friday. 39% of defectors plan to shop during the first two weeks of December instead.

The number of defectors who were more likely to have previously shopped for themselves was cut in half (20% in previous years vs. 10% this year), indicating that the financial crunch felt by many shoppers is limiting “treat” purchases.

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We also looked at where defectors shopped last year so we could find out which retailers are losing Black Friday dollars in 2016. InfoScout data shows that Walmart (22.9%) and Target (14.6%) had the largest shares of 2015 Black Friday spend by far and stand to be the biggest losers.

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So why did defectors choose not to shop on Black Friday this year? They didn’t want to brave the crowds, they didn’t feel financially comfortable to spend on gifts yet, and they know that they have the option to purchase gifts well into December, as retailers spread out the holiday shopping season over a longer period of time every year. 

About the Data

These insights were powered by InfoScout’s ability to trigger real-time surveys based on observed shopping behavior. The data in this article was sourced from a survey completed by 388 consumers who shopped on Black Friday in 2015 and did not shop on Black Friday in 2016 (November 25, 2016).

Throughout the 2016 holiday shopping season, InfoScout’s team of researchers will be analyzing real-time data from millions of omnichannel shopping trips. This data is mapped to shopper profile data, instantly triggered surveys and more to provide the richest set of shopper insights available.

For more information, please contact press@infoscoutinc.com.