Black Friday excitement and spending hindered by COVID-19 concerns

by Kim Souza ([email protected]) 385 views 

Black Friday has been a mega shopping ritual for consumers and retailers for decades, but as COVID-19 concerns persist only about half of the households are excited about shopping on Black Friday, according to a survey recently conducted by Piplsay.

The marketing insights firm found that 29% said they don’t plan to shop much this year and 19% are not excited about Black Friday and will begin their shopping much earlier. This is not a surprise given Amazon moved its Prime Day event to Oct. 13-14 and Walmart and Target have also begun promoting early October deals online in response.

Regarding Black Friday shopping, 28% said they plan to spend about the same on Black Friday as last year, 20% said spending will increase, 37% said they plan to spend less or significantly less than last year, and 15% were not sure about this year’s spending compared to 2019. The survey indicated 25% have not yet set a budget and the most common answer among the respondents was a budget of less than $300. About 30% said they will spend at least $500.

The survey also asked consumers what category deals they would look forward to on Black Friday. Electronics, mobile devices, computers, music and gaming was the top answer with 28% of respondents. The second most desired category involved smart home and appliances, followed by clothes and fashion, then toys and home and kitchen.

Nearly half of the respondents said they will shop only online this Black Friday, while 28% said they will do less shopping in-stores and 23% still prefer to find in-store deals on Black Friday. Piplsay segregated out the men’s answers from the women and found 34% of women and 23% of men have no plans to shop on Black Friday.

The survey found 51% of Millennials (ages 25-40) and 46% of Gen Zers (ages 5 to 24) plan to do most of their shopping online this year. Piplsay asked Millennials about their shopping budget and 38% said they will likely spend more than last year, where 33% of Gen Zers plan to increase budgets. Just 29% of Gen Xers (ages 44-55) said they will spend more this year on Black Friday shopping.

Finder.com surveyed consumers on their spending plans throughout the holiday period. One in five American adults plans to spend at least 30% less on average this Christmas. Spending 30% less equates to $318 less for things like gifts, food and travel, with a total forecast spend of $732 based on last year’s average household spend of $1,050, the Finder.com survey revealed.

Some people are cutting costs more or less than others, with 7% planning to cut spending as much as 50% compared to last year. The survey found 33% of respondents who do plan to spend less will likely cut budgets between 5% and 30%. Reduced consumer spending this Christmas will weigh on the economy. Finder.com estimates suggesting retailers and service providers could lose more than $12.9 billion, with spending falling from $107.2 billion to $94.3 billion, according to the survey.

“Due to job losses, business closures and travel restrictions related to the coronavirus outbreak, it comes as no surprise that 40% of Americans will spend less on Christmas this year than in the past. The majority of those who’ve said they’ll cut down on holiday spending this year are 55 and older. This group is also more susceptible to viruses such as the coronavirus, which could explain the decrease in holiday shopping among older generations,” said Gabrielle Pastorek, a retail analyst with Finder.com.

She said the industry is already seeing an uptick in online sales, which is expected to continue throughout the holiday season. Additionally, “buy now, pay later” financing services like Affirm, Afterpay and Klarna have remained popular throughout the pandemic, she added.

“We expect more people than ever before to turn to financial services like these to help make the holidays more affordable during an economic downturn,” Pastorek said.

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