Nov 30, 2018

Surveying Black Friday and Cyber Monday: Shoppers Weigh In on the Holiday Shopping Bonanza

Holiday Shopping
The deep discounts. The battles for parking spaces. The spinning cursor of death as you wait for your online cart to load. Welcome to Thanksgiving weekend, starring Black Friday and Cyber Monday!

We’ve all heard what the experts have to say about the biggest shopping weekend of the year. But what about the stars of the show— the shoppers? Numerator surveyed nearly 10,000 shoppers (9,863, to be exact) immediately following their Thanksgiving, Black Friday or Cyber Monday purchases to gain real-time insights into their shopping behavior and experiences. 

Here’s what we learned.

The Shift Online Continues, But…

There’s no denying the fact that holiday dollars continue to shift online, with 45% of survey respondents sharing their plans to make more online and fewer in store purchases for holiday gifts this year. In fact, nearly one in five respondents shopped only or mostly online this Black Friday, a significant number for the traditionally brick-and-mortar holiday. While online slowly takes hold of Black Friday, it continues to flourish on its designated day; 10% of respondents who made a purchase on Cyber Monday were first-time Cyber Monday shoppers.


But there’s still some good news for brick-and-mortar stores. When we asked shoppers how they would rate their satisfaction, 43% of Black Friday shoppers and 46% of Thanksgiving shoppers—the majority of whom shopped in-store—said their experience was much or somewhat better than previous years. More than half said the checkout experience was much or somewhat better, as well. 


This would suggest one of two things: that retailers have made noticeable improvements to the in-store shopping experience during the holiday weekend, or that the shift online has resulted in more manageable, less stressful crowds for those who do venture outside of their homes to shop. Either way, brick-and-mortar stores should delight in the customer satisfaction rates they saw this Thanksgiving weekend, and strive to keep it up in years to come.  

A Closer Look at Shopping Trips

More than four in ten Black Friday (42%) and Thanksgiving (43%) shoppers said they were able to buy everything they planned to buy plus additional items, compared to 35% for Cyber Monday shoppers. Cyber Monday (47%) shoppers were more likely to purchase only what they planned to buy compared to Black Friday (40%) and Thanksgiving (39%) shoppers. This would indicate that online shoppers are more focused on their predetermined lists, while those shopping in-store are more likely to make spontaneous additions to their shopping carts. 


60% of all shoppers purchased items included in special deals, but those items weren’t just gifts for other people— 42% purchased items for themselves. 33% of Thanksgiving shoppers, 38% of Black Friday shoppers, and 28% of Cyber Monday shoppers also purchased items they would normally buy. With this in mind, retailers could potentially increase sales in certain categories by including everyday items in holiday weekend promotions, particularly on Black Friday.

You Can't Always Get What You Want

Shopping for holiday gifts during the busiest shopping weekend of the year isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, especially when you don’t get what you want. 18 percent of shoppers weren’t able to purchase all the items they planned to buy. We asked them why.

About half of Thanksgiving (51%), Black Friday (51%) and Cyber Monday (46%) shoppers said they couldn’t make a purchase because an item they wanted was sold out. 31% of Thanksgiving shoppers and 35% of Black Friday shoppers said they couldn’t find the item they wanted in the store. 27% of Cyber Monday shoppers said they couldn’t find items online, and 10% said the websites weren’t functioning properly. Retailers risk losing customers if they can’t keep up with demand or make it easier for shoppers to find what they need.

Are We Done Yet?

41% of Black Friday shoppers said they were mostly or completely done shopping for holiday gifts. That number jumps to 51% for Cyber Monday shoppers as more consumers take the entire holiday weekend to wrap up or put a big dent in their holiday gift shopping.


With many Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals extending into December, two-thirds of survey respondents plan to continue shopping December 1 through the weekend of Super Saturday, the final Saturday before Christmas, which has become a major shopping day in its own right. Interestingly, more people expect to finish their holiday gift shopping after Christmas (9%) than on Christmas Eve (6%)!

Tying a Bow on the Holiday Weekend

Our survey of shoppers who made purchases during Thanksgiving weekend shows that although holiday dollars are moving online, the brick-and-mortar experience has improved, and shoppers have taken notice. Thanksgiving weekend offers retailers the opportunity to sell more than just gifts. However, work needs to be done to ensure items don’t sell out and are easy to find, both online and in stores. The competition is fierce, and the holiday shopper is savvy, so an in-depth understanding of consumer wants & needs is crucial to capture those holiday dollars.

Check out ongoing holiday insights at our Holiday Hub! For more information on how Numerator can help you win this holiday season, click here and set up a demo.