‘Consumer sentiment riding high’ ahead of Black Friday, report reveals

Sales and marketing optimisation solutions provider Periscope® By McKinsey has announced the findings of research that it carried-out during October 2017 on consumer sentiment towards Black Friday 2017, the categories they will shop in, and how.

As the findings of ‘Black Friday 2017 Shopping Report: Consumer sentiment is riding high’ reveal, consumers have great expectations for this year’s event. Almost half (44%) of US consumers confirmed they will be shopping this Black Friday – compared to just 26% in 2016 and 23% who were undecided. The jump is much higher in the UK with 81% stating they intend to shop this Black Friday – compared to just 22% who anticipated getting involved last year and 30% who were on the fence. Previous scepticism about Black Friday being a marketing trick also seems to be falling, with 37% of UK shoppers and 25% in the US saying they’ve grown to like it more.

The top motivating factor for shopping this Black Friday is getting enticing offers not available at other times of the year according to 37% of US shoppers, and 36% in the UK. This was followed by steep discounting which was 36% for the US, and 48% in the UK.

Consumers demonstrating omnichannel credentials

In recent years, Black Friday has been viewed as an increasingly digital shopping event. However, the 2017 research reveals that 36% (US) and 31% (UK) consumers are planning to conduct their Black Friday shopping activities both in-store and online. That’s a big jump from last year, when just 18% and 11% respectively said they would divide shopping activities between digital and physical channels.

Looking at online behaviour, the desktop computer remains the device most likely to be used when making Black Friday purchases at 35% (US) and 45% (UK), but is declining compared to 2016 when 60% and 54% planned to shop this way.

Shoppers are also planning to use smartphones more this year. Almost one-third of UK respondents (30%) and over a quarter of US (26%) plan to use them to make Black Friday purchases – up from 16.5% (UK) and 20.5% (US) last year.

However, the excitement of the physical store experience still retains a strong appeal for many Black Friday bargain hunters – that’s especially true for the 28% of US shoppers who say they only or mostly plan to shop in-store (compared to 17% of UK shoppers) this shopping holiday.

Consumers plan to spend more online in wider categories

When questioned if the way they shop will be different this year, UK (48%) and US (33%) respondents say they are planning to shop across more product categories when making online purchases – furthermore, 36% of UK and 27% of US respondents say they have a higher budget to spend this year.

Consumer electronics topped the list for both US (58%) and UK (52%) shoppers for categories consumers intend to shop in, with clothing coming a close second (54% in the US; 52% in the UK).

Shopping for movies, books and music is the priority for 33% of US consumers, while beauty and fragrances stole the third spot with 42% of UK shoppers. With Christmas looming, it’s probably no surprise that Toys holds a strong appeal for both US (32%) and UK (35%) consumers.

Interestingly, 20% of UK consumers and around 10% of US consumers also anticipate shopping for offers in categories like Grocery and Beverages.

Periscope By McKinsey managing partner Brian Elliott commented: “Consumer appetite for Black Friday in the US and UK has surged this year, with more planning to shop, in more categories, with more disposable budget. There is a clear opportunity for those retailers that understand how their customers shop in an omnichannel setting and therefore focus on creating shopping experiences that tie their online and physical channels together.

“We know from the research that consumers have a shopping list and are researching online already now, that means they are giving you clues about what they want. Retailers that can use that information to create personalized promotions and offers, stand a much higher chance of securing sales, and making Black Friday 2017 their biggest ever.”

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