Black Friday trends and stats to know for 2022

A man holding a credit card and a phone makes an online order during a Black Friday sale.

Prepping for the holiday shopping season can be a challenge for marketers and retailers. Changing consumer behaviors and ever-evolving trends can make mapping out a clear strategy difficult — not to mention issues related to the lingering pandemic, supply chain disruptions, labor shortages, and economic uncertainty.

Fortunately, even though future markets and opportunities can’t be predicted perfectly, businesses hoping to make a splash during the holiday season can forecast consumer behaviors by reviewing and understanding previous trends.

In this article, you’ll learn about:

Effects of the pandemic on Black Friday

COVID-19 had a big impact on Black Friday in 2020, catalyzing changes in consumer shopping behavior that continue today. Because of social distancing protocols across the globe, retailers saw a significant decrease in brick-and-mortar shopping and a huge increase in digital shopping — electronic sales increased by a staggering 43% in 2020.

Black Friday

Stuck at home, people had more downtime in general, consumed far more content online, and spent $900 billion more online in 2020 globally compared to the previous two years.

Online stores that saw the most benefit from this trend toward ecommerce were retailers who catered to customers with more disposable income that were not hit as hard by the pandemic. Consumers in this category leaned hard into goods and services that would make their at-home lives more comfortable during extended periods of travel limitations — things like home goods, food delivery, and media services.

Some of the top performers were:

Logos for Amazon, DoorDash, GrubHub, Uber Eats, and Apple.

Cyber Monday

Cyber Monday in 2020 also saw a percentage increase from previous years. Cyber Monday spending exceeded Black Friday online spending by about $2.4 billion that year, and clicks increased by a daily average of 118% leading up to Cyber Week in 2020. Some days clicks were up almost 300% compared to the previous year, and buying reached $12 million per minute at its peak on Cyber Monday.

Email marketing

Email marketing was an effective tool that many online retailers utilized in 2020. That year saw an increase in both consumer engagement and open rates in email marketing. Almost 50% of US consumers preferred emails that personalized the shopping experience and included content like promotions and coupons. Nearly two-thirds of US marketing professionals said that greater personalization was the best way to increase the effectiveness of email campaigns.

Mobile and desktop

Mobile and desktop trends were also affected by the pandemic. While working or attending school from home, people preferred to read article pages on a desktop rather than on mobile. But mobile use significantly increased for food orders, video game play, and video calling.

Consumer

Consumer spending trends varied across demographic categories like age and location. Millennial consumers between 25 and 34 years old represented the biggest category of online shoppers in the US. This demographic group was responsible for a little more than 20% of digital buyers as of early spring 2020. The second-largest buying group was 35–44-year-olds, who accounted for just over 17% of American online shoppers.

During Black Friday 2020 — Thanksgiving included — consumers spent $14.1 billion online, with a buy rate of $6.3 million per minute.

During Black Friday 2020 — Thanksgiving included — consumers spent $14.1 billion online, with a buy rate of $6.3 million per minute. That spending included a little more than $9 billion on Black Friday itself and another $5.1 billion spent on Thanksgiving Day. This was an almost 20% increase over the prior year, and it was the second largest online spending day in US history.

Millennials spent an average of $851.79 on Black Friday 2020. The second and third biggest spenders were Generation X and Generation Z, with an average spend of $679.18 and $594.56, respectively. Older baby boomers and Silent Generation consumers spent $577.81 and $403.62 that day, respectively.

Top-selling products

The top-selling products in 2020 mapped predictably to the at-home pandemic environment. They tended to be items to make home-based life more comfortable for consumers, including masks, shapewear and exercise mats, fitness wearables, electronic devices, and skincare products.

The most popular broad product categories were healthcare and sanitization supplies, home exercise equipment, and tech. Fitness equipment sales increased by 25% in 2020, while tech sales grew by 17%.

Understanding how patterns in more recent post-pandemic years have affected markets can yield helpful insights. A review of the following Black Friday trends can help businesses during the upcoming holiday shopping season.

Overview of Black Friday statistics (post-pandemic)

Understanding more recent trends and stats for the upcoming holiday shopping season will help marketers and retailers plan an effective strategy.

In 2021, Black Friday was an important day for online sales after the supply chain shortages and restrictions of the pandemic — 88 million Americans shopped online that day, mostly on their mobile devices. In total, they spent $8.9 billion last year — a 1.3% drop from last year’s record of $9.03 billion and the first-ever decline year-over-year.

Though Black Friday numbers declined, overall 2021 holiday spending increased by 14.1% over the prior year, setting a new record. Even though spending at brick-and-mortar stores revived in 2021, digital shopping continued to see an increase in popularity.

Understanding changes in Cyber Monday spending trends between 2020 and 2021 can help marketers and retailers plan appropriate campaigns and make informed decisions regarding supply chains and inventory. Consumer spending online dropped by 1.4%, to $33.9 billion in 2021 compared to 2020. This decline may be explained in part by consumers distributing their shopping over the course of the season instead of concentrating it as heavily on Cyber Monday.

Sales were unevenly distributed across specific product types. For example, smartphone-driven sales increased in 2021 on Cyber Monday, up 8.4% year-over-year. Notably, Cyber Monday saw more sales from desktop devices as more consumers shopped from the office during the workweek.

Understanding 2021 email marketing trends can also help improve your strategy for the upcoming season. Trends in email marketing in 2021 continued to shift toward personalization of content, offers, products, and experiences.

Last year, 60% of consumers reported that email was their preferred promotional channel, and 46% of the emails opened were on mobile phones. Nearly 70% of recipients read marketing emails on their smartphones 2–3 days a week, and the conversion rate of emails was 1.22% on average in 2021.

Last year saw some shifts in mobile and desktop trends, and knowing them will help you craft more personalized campaigns and deliver better customer experiences for the upcoming holiday shopping season. Artificial intelligence capabilities like Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa helped both consumers and marketers alike hone in on personalized shopping preferences.

Location-based technology keeps getting better, and 2021 saw improved algorithms to track consumers and collect segmentation-relevant data. Wearable devices also grew in popularity, with sales revenue of a little more than $59 billion in 2021, increasing the availability of consumer biometric data. In addition, global adoption of 5G rose to new heights, as 220 million people went to 5G last year.

Desktop accounted for almost 40% of all online visits in 2021. Smartphones claimed 58% of all online visits in 2021.

Desktop accounted for almost 40% of all online visits in 2021, while smartphones claimed 58%. And significantly, conversion rates were almost double on desktop devices, which points to user preferences for browsing on mobile but making purchases on a computer or laptop.

Knowing your customer segments and what motivates spending is an essential part of planning for holiday shopping. Purchase history, age, location, and life events can all make a big impact on purchasing decisions.

In the latter half of 2021, the ecommerce share of total retail sales in the US was around 13% — down from an earlier high of 15.7%. Also, consumer habits have changed in favor of online shopping. Grocery shopping online increased to 15% nationwide. New research shows that 60% of people said they’d rather grocery shop online now, compared to 45% in late 2020.

Millennial and Gen X groups do the bulk of online shopping — 67% of millennials and 56% of Gen Xers shop online instead of in a physical store. These two consumer groups spend more money online than others because they spend more time shopping online. They spend 50% more time making online purchases than the boomer or Silent Generation.

Top-selling products

Understanding what products sell well during the holiday season is an important part of getting your strategy right. With this information you can make better-informed purchasing, distribution, and promotional decisions.

Products and product categories on the rise show some consistent patterns. For example, health and beauty products continue to be bestsellers, with a market size of almost $50 billion in 2021, on its way to a projected $90-plus billion by the year 2027.

Home goods and services continue to be popular. For example, car care products like cleaners, waxes, and dust repellents grew 3.6% in 2022. And people still love their pets — one of the top trending product categories at the moment is dog toys, with global sales valued at 3.7 billion.

Following past trends and patterns for online holiday shopping can help inform and optimize your approach. When you’re ready to get started, learn more about digital commerce preparation to maximize holiday sales.

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