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Black Friday Spending Statistics, Trends, and Fun Facts (US & UK)

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2 November, 2021 • Updated 24 days ago
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Black Friday Spending Statistics, Trends, and Fun Facts (US & UK)

While the holiday season may begin around Thanksgiving and end on New Year’s Eve, one of the best days for online shopping deals and the busiest shopping day of the season is Black Friday.

Most of the holiday purchases happen during the peak of Black Friday sales.

Black Friday spending is so high that the online sales day has become a crucial day for stores and the economy in general with consumers spending $9.0 billion, an increase of 21.6% year over year in the U.S. in 2020. 

In the UK, on the other hand, people were set to spend £6 billion on Black Friday and Cyber Monday purchases in 2020. 

Last 5 Year Black Friday Spend by Country (Online)

YearUSUK
2016$3.3 billion£2.8 billion
2017$5 billion£3.2 billion
2018$6.3 billion£3.5 billion
2019$7.5 billion£3.8 billion
2020$9 billion£5.8 billion

Black Friday Online Shopping Growth

On Black Friday 2020, U.S. consumers spent $6.3 million per minute online, according to CNBC’s article. Black Friday shopping brings grows in staggering numbers.

It means that last year there were many purchases made online, and the pandemic was the right trigger to produce bigger Black Friday online shopping numbers. But what were the actual numbers concerning this holiday shopping event? 

  • Spending on smartphones surged 25.3% year over year to reach $3.6 billion in the U.S. in 2020, according to CNBC’s article.
  • Americans spent $27.50 per person, on average, according to the same source.
  • Traffic at stores in 2020 in the U.S. on Black Friday fell by 52.1% compared with the year prior, according to another CNBC article.
  • The expected online spend in the UK in 2020 for Black Friday was £1.92 billion, according to Statista.
  • The expected offline spend in the UK was £0.46 billion, according to the same study.

People buy various things on Black Friday weekend due to the excellent deals. The holiday shopping season was a bit different last year due to the pandemic, but we could still see the traditional Black Friday purchases.

Last year’s Apple watches got switched with Apple Airpods, while many retailers of brick and mortar stores saw an increase in buying other smart devices, like smart TVs and laptops.

In the pandemic-stricken 2020, the financial crisis wasn’t really an issue when shopping for holiday gifts. The top three product groups searched with “black friday” keywords were:

The top three products were:

  • Nintendo Switch
  • PlayStation
  • Apple AirPods

The top three retailers were:

  • Walmart
  • Amazon
  • Best Buy, according to the same source.

The second-ranked Black Friday retailer Amazon saw some unorthodox Black Friday purchases – home products like:

  • iRobot Roomba 675 Robot Vacuum
  • Beckham Hotel Collection Luxury Plush Gel Pillow

and smart home devices like: 

  • Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote
  • All-New Echo Dot 4th Gen, according to People’s article.

In the UK,  popular products that were heavily discounted in 2020 were: 

Hands on a smartphone
Electronics prices usually get big discounts during Black Friday.

Black Friday sales attract a range of buyers of all ages, genders, and income demographics. In the last holiday shopping season that came before Cyber Monday sales, we could see that many different demographic groups decided to catch them.

Even though the face of shoppers may be broad, there are some groups that tend to represent a larger share of online shoppers. In the U.S. in 2020,

  • Millennials spent an average of $851.79 on Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping, while Generation X participated in it with an average of $679.18 being spent.
  • Generation Z was the third with an average spend of $594.56.
  • Baby Boomers came in at fourth place with $577.81 on average, while
  • the Silent Generation was least likely to shop with an average spend of $403.62, according to Finder.com’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday Statistics for the US.
  • The average spend goes up with a bigger income, so Americans with an annual income of less than $20,000 spent around $447.86, while those whose income is $120,000 or over, spent approximately $869.52, according to the same study.

In 2020 in the UK, 

  • Millennials had the biggest proportion of their population taking part in Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, with an average Black Friday spend of £372.18.
  • Generation X spend an average of £303.19, while
  • Baby Boomers spent £252.86 on average.
  • The Silent Generation’s average Black Friday spend was £225
  • Generation Z was least likely to partake in Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping with an average of £129.50 spent, according to Finder.com’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday Statistics for the UK.
Clothes discounts.
Black Friday is always a good chance to update your wardrobe.

Brick-and-Mortar Retail vs. Online

Black Friday online shopping wins over the good old in person shopping. Since it’s a Friday following Thanksgiving Day, many opt to stay at home and shop online.

As said, more purchases were done online in 2020 than in the previous years during Black Friday and Cyber Monday. But what do the numbers look like exactly? 

  • Traffic during Black Friday in-store was expected to be down 25% year over year, according to Fortune’s article.
  • The 10 busiest days around Black Friday in 2020 generated only 34.2% of all holiday store traffic, down from 46.5% in 2019, according to the same source.
  • In the US, $3.6 billion was spent via smartphones, a 25.3% increase year over year, reaching 40% of the total online spend in 2020, according to ABC News’ article.
  • Globally, online sales were expected to grow 30% year over year, according to a CNBC article.
  • In the UK, in-store Black Friday and Cyber Monday purchases fell from 23% in 2019 to 12% in 2020, according to Statista.
  • The UK consumers preferred online channels and delivery with 76% of them shopping online in 2020. 12% of them used the “click and collect” option, according to the same source.

How to Shop Smart for Black Friday

The sales sometimes sound too good to be true. Sadly, that is the case sometimes.  

Retailers have many tricks to attract customers. They often increase the price of items in the days before the holiday just to lower it afterwards or even offer outdated products which would eventually be on sale without the shopping holiday. 

So, when you think you found a too-good-to-be-true deal, make sure to check the price history, don’t trust the anchor prices, and check the price across multiple websites to be sure.  
 
Here are some Black Friday statistics to prove what we just mentioned: 

  • 85% of the items had also been the same price or cheaper in the six months before the Black Friday sales, according to a Which article.
  • Only 1% of the products of 120 they tracked were at their very cheapest price on Black Friday, according to the same source.
  • 186.4 million consumers took advantage of the Thanksgiving holiday weekend and shopped in-store and online in 2020, according to a National Retail Federation article.
  • Some Black Friday discounts aren’t anything special because those products tend to go on sale every few months, according to a Wired article.

Black Friday Spending Statistics for Marketers and Retailers

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are excellent events before the holiday season for marketers around the world as online spending days became global. Let’s find out which statistics you should look for if you’re a marketer or a retailer yourself. 

Three-quarters of 2020 holiday shoppers (75%) plan to put 2020 gift purchases on a credit card, charging $652, on average, according to NerdWallet’s Shopping Report.

The biggest factor influencing the buyer’s decision during Black Friday is free shipping (49%), while the second factor is promotions or limited-time deals (36%), according to Finances Online Statistics.

46% of customers expected to go to the store around 7 AM to 10 AM in 2020, according to Deloitte’s Pre-Thanksgiving pulse survey.

The minimum order value for free shipping drops by 8% during the holiday season (Nov-Dec) compared to the rest of the year, driven by competitive deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, according to Adobe Digital Insights.

61% of consumers reasoned that they do not plan to shop in-store because there would be too many crowds, according to Drive Research Black Friday Survey.

Fun Facts About Black Friday You Might Not Know

  • The first Black Friday occurred in 1869 after financier Jay Gould and railway businessman James Fisk attempted to corner the gold market, which ultimately resulted in financial panic and the collapse of the market, according to Dictionary.com.
  • In the 1950s, factory managers started calling the Friday after Thanksgiving Black Friday because many employees decided to falsely call in sick, to extend the weekend. 10 years later, Philadelphia traffic cops used the term too because they had to work long shifts in terrible traffic the day after Thanksgiving. Merchants soon started adopting the term to give discounts for the holiday season, according to the same source.
  • 48% of YoY growth in searches for the term “Black Friday” came from Brazil in 2020, according to SEMrush’s Black Friday Statistics.
  • In the UK, Black Friday will result in delivery vehicles releasing nearly 500,000 tons of carbon into the atmosphere, according to The Sun’s article.
  • The average adult plans to spend $400 on Black Friday, according to Spend Me Not’s Black Friday Sale Statistics.
  • Average savings on Black Friday specials are 37%, according to the same source.
  • Some popular stores have started boycotting the shopping event in recent years, according to a Good Housekeeping article.

People Also Ask

What are the total sales on Black Friday?

The total retail sales on Black Friday were $9 billion in the U.S. and almost £6 billion in the UK. It is not as big of an industry as the pizza consumption industry, but it still brings in a staggering amount of money each year.

What are Black Friday sales estimates for 2021?

Black Friday online sales will grow in 2021 and they will most likely outperform the 2020 numbers. However, be aware that with huge interest, there might be shortages of items you wanted to buy and you might experience delays with your order, so make sure to buy what you intended at the beginning of the Black Friday craze.

When is Black Friday 2021?

Black Friday 2021 is on Friday, November 26, 2021.

What is the average Black Friday discount?

The average Black Friday discount is 37%.

Who are the biggest spenders on Black Friday?

The biggest spenders on Black Friday 2020 in the U.S. and in the UK were the Millennials.

Conclusion

Online retailers are gaining more of the share of retail sales each year, brick and mortar retail will probably become a thing of the past. Since everything goes online, and you can even do online grocery shopping these days, big sales will continue to be a draw for all age shoppers looking to save a few bucks and score some deals for the holiday season.

Even though both online and physical stores still share the profits, it does appear that the event will continue to evolve into an online spending shopping weekend encompassing Thanksgiving Day through to Cyber Monday instead of the traditional one day only holiday sales as stores continue to open earlier into Thanksgiving and push their sales throughout the long weekend.

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