Retail

Black Friday Still Revving Up Excitement Among US Shoppers

When Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) decided to move its annual summertime Prime Day to October this year, the e-commerce giant essentially opened the 2020 holiday shopping season nearly six weeks ahead of Black Friday, the traditional, if unofficial, start of the busiest season of the year for retailers.

As traditional retailers like Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT) and Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT) have moved the start of their holiday shopping specials to around Halloween, though, it’s possible to argue that Black Friday is not the occasion it once was.

Amazon moved Prime Day (actually two days) later due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which had more to do with handling a flood of online orders during lockdowns. But that only caused competitors to come up with their own promotions for the same two days. Walmart, for example, put a variety of items, including smart TVs, on sale from Sunday through Thursday, and Target kicked off its Deal Days promotion.

So what’s left for Black Friday? According to a recent survey of more than 30,000 Americans by Piplsay, just over half (52%) of Americans are excited about shopping on Black Friday. At least some of that enthusiasm must come from a return to some reasonably normal occasion in what has been a downbeat year.

Don’t expect the storied door-buster deals and overnight lines of several years ago, however. Nearly half (49%) of Americans plan to do most of their Black Friday shopping online. Some 28% of respondents say they plan to spend less time shopping in stores due to the pandemic, while 23% say they still prefer to shop in brick-and-mortar stores.

A full third expect to spend $500 or less on Black Friday shopping this year, and another quarter have not yet decided on how much they will spend. The remaining 42% expect to spend more than $500, with 8% planning on spending more than $2,000 on Black Friday.

More than a quarter (28%) of Black Friday shoppers will be looking for deals on electronics like mobile devices, computers and gaming devices, while 16% will be scouting out deals on home appliances and smart home devices like smart speakers. Another 15% will be shopping for clothes and accessories; 13% plan to buy toys, games and books; and 9% will be looking for bargains on kitchen items.

Among other insights from the Piplsay survey, more than a third (34%) of men and 23% of women have no plans to shop on Black Friday this year. Three of five men (62%) and 38% of women are interested in buying electronic gear this year.  Must be those new gaming consoles.