The Amazon Effect: Why Prime Members Stayed Home on Black Friday


It’s no secret that online shopping is growing in popularity. It’s also no secret that Amazon is driving and even accelerating that shift from in-store to online. Amazon Prime memberships have increased 23% to nearly 50 million just since last year, according to estimates from Cowen & Co.

With Black Friday 2016 in the books, InfoScout wanted to find out why Amazon Prime members shopped online instead of in-store. We also wanted to gain a clearer understanding of Prime members’ holiday gift shopping habits before and after Black Friday.

We conducted a survey of more than 2,000 Amazon Prime members and found that fewer members were shopping in-store on Black Friday – 59% of respondents this year vs. 65% in 2015.


Why did shoppers stay home this year? “Crowds, stampedes, and bad attitudes,” replied one shopper. “Lines and grouchy people” said another. Interestingly, “prices” and “deals” were mentioned far less frequently.

In other words, Prime members who stayed home on Black Friday weren’t bargain hunters. Most were just trying to avoid the long lines and hordes of frantic shoppers.

Will that feeling continue throughout the holiday season? When we asked where their remaining holiday gift shopping will occur, 85% of surveyed Prime members said they will do at least half of their shopping online. Just 15% plan to do most of their shopping in-store.


However, the fact that Amazon Prime members avoided leaving the house on Black Friday doesn’t mean they’re procrastinating their Christmas shopping. Nearly 25% expect to wrap up their online holiday shopping by the end of November, compared to 20% for in-store purchases.


Though it may seem contradictory, the popularity of Black Friday appears to be driving shoppers to stay home and shop online. As more holiday gift shopping inevitably shifts online, brick-and-mortar retailers would be wise to start linking in-store purchases with extra discounts for their shoppers to also visit them online (e.g., “Spend $100 in-store and get $10 to spend online). Attracting and retaining these shoppers will be key to competing with their online-only competition.

About the Data

The data in this article was sourced from a survey completed by more than 2,000 Amazon Prime members from InfoScout’s consumer purchase panel.

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.

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