Black Friday and Cyber Week Shopping & Spending Survey 2019
We asked U.S. consumers when and how they plan to shop during Cyber Week — and whether deal FOMO is real.
The week of Thanksgiving provides nonstop deals, with Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the surrounding days snowballing into one huge sale event.
For our annual holiday survey, we polled more than 5,000 U.S. adults via Google Surveys and found that roughly 1 in 5 plan to shop during this crucial time span. We looked within that subgroup for additional Cyber Week-specific insights.
Among our findings:
- Black Friday itself still reigns as the biggest shopping day of Cyber Week, with 61% of Cyber Week shoppers saying they’ll shop on that day.
- Amazon’s ad is, by far, the most anticipated among consumers — even though it technically does not release a traditional Black Friday ad.
- Anticipated average spending for both Black Friday ($502) and Cyber Monday ($431) is up from 2018.
- Clothing is the top shopping category for Cyber Week, with more than 40% of customers saying they’ll shopping for fashion this year.
- While Cyber Week deals may sell out, most consumers (84%) don’t have deal FOMO and aren’t stressed about missing out on bargains and top products.
What is Cyber Week?
We define Cyber Week as the span of the Monday before Thanksgiving (when the first big sales should pop up) through Cyber Monday. That makes it Nov. 25 to Dec. 2 this year. This time span (which encompasses Turkey Day, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday) is vital for retailers trying to capture shoppers’ business — and for consumers who want to snag the best deals of the year.
This year, arguably, Cyber Week is more important than ever for retailers and consumers. Because Thanksgiving falls almost a week later than it did last year, merchants will have less time to drum up holiday sales between Thanksgiving weekend and Christmas. And shoppers have one less week to shop online and have their purchases arrive in time for Christmas.
Almost one-fifth of U.S.consumers are planning to shop Cyber Week sales this year
Whichever day they plan to shop, 18% of consumers plan to purchase something during a Cyber Week sale. Among that group, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the most popular shopping days:
When do you plan to shop during Cyber Week?
- Thanksgiving week: 43%
- Black Friday: 61%
- Small Business Saturday: 23%
- Cyber Monday: 50%
Black Friday was the top Cyber Week shopping holiday in 2018 as well. While last year’s poling question was slightly different, about 31% said they’d do “most of” their holiday shopping on Black Friday in 2018 (22% said Cyber Monday).
Amazon has the most-anticipated ad — and it doesn’t even release an ad scan
Ad scans are one of the biggest parts of the Black Friday hype. Retailers start dropping them in October, revealing their deals.
We asked consumers which ad/flyer they’re most looking forward to for the 2019 season, and Amazon is the surprising winner — surprising because they don’t actually release an ad scan (just a list of deals). However, if you’re looking forward to Amazon’s Black Friday deals, we produce an easily readable ad scan for the online giant and will post it here.
Which Black Friday/Cyber Monday ads/flyers will you be browsing?
Walmart is the second-most anticipated ad of the season, followed closely by Target. These results are not at all surprising, considering both Walmart and Target have particularly strong Black Friday deals, spanning tech, fashion, home goods and toys.
Most Cyber Week shoppers will shop online
Although lining up outside a store is now a Thanksgiving and Black Friday tradition, 67% of Cyber Week shoppers will be snagging deals online. That’s just shy of the 68% who said they’d shop online last year.
How are you most likely to shop Cyber Week sales?
- On a computer – 49%
- In a store – 33%
- On a mobile device – 18%
Cyber Monday has the biggest contingent of online shoppers, with 78% of those shopping on that day making purchases via a computer or mobile device. Black Friday, meanwhile, has the largest contingent of in-store shoppers. This suggests that early store opening times do draw shoppers in. However, even on Black Friday, online shoppers outnumber in-store ones:
Average Cyber Week Spending is up slightly year over year
Consumers plan to spend $71 more on Black Friday than on Cyber Monday. And planned spending is up on both days year over year:
- Average planned spending for Black Friday: $502 (+ $30 vs. 2018)
- Average planned spending for Cyber Monday: $431 (+$16 vs. 2018)
This year-over-year uptick indicates a strong economy and growth in holiday hype. The National Retail Federation has tracked overall holiday spending since 2002 and found that it goes hand in hand with the country’s economic health and outlook. Holiday spending has increased overall since 2002, according to the NRF, with the only slump occurring during the Great Recession (2008 and 2009).
Clothing is the top Cyber Week shopping category
More than 40% of consumers plan to shop for clothing during Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. Home goods/appliances and tech follow close behind:
What will you shop for during Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales?
- Clothing – 41%
- Home goods/small appliances – 38%
- Tablets/laptops/PCs/TVs – 32%
- Smart home gadgets & tech 30%
- Toys – 25%
- Travel or experiences – 12%
- Other – 3%
These top purchase categories line up with last year’s survey results as well, when clothing also came out on top. Clothing is indeed a smart Cyber Week buy, especially on Cyber Monday, when top retailers, such as Gap, ASOS and Target offer generous sitewide promo codes.
The other top categories (appliances, tech, TVs and smart-home gadgets) are also prudent Cyber Week buys. As in previous years, our experts predict key products in these categories, including 4K TVs, the Instant Pot, robotic vacuums and smart speakers, will hit some of the lowest prices shoppers will see all year.
Most shoppers don’t get deal FOMO
Whether you’re shopping online or in stores, Cyber Week (particularly Black Friday and Cyber Monday) is a fast-paced environment. Deals for popular products sell out, and websites crash, leaving online shoppers frantically refreshing their browsers or calling stores to ask for availability.
So it’s very possible some shoppers won’t get everything on their shopping lists.
But most shoppers aren’t too worried. Fewer than 20% say they’re stressed that they’ll miss out on a deal.
Are you stressed that you’ll miss out on a deal or popular item because it will sell out?
- Yes – 16%
- No – 84%
Millennials (arguably the FOMO generation) are most likely to have deal FOMO, with 22% of 25-to-34-year-olds saying they’re stressed about missing deals.
Most consumers expect discounts of at least 30% off
Shoppers have relatively high expectations when it comes to the calibre of deals during Cyber Week. More than 60% say they won’t bite unless the product is at least 30% off. And the largest contingent of Cyber Week Shoppers (27%) say they’re waiting for discounts of 30% to 35% off.
What’s the lowest discount you would accept before buying coveted items on Thanksgiving/Black Friday/Cyber Monday?
- 10 to 15% off – 14%
- 20 to 25% off – 25%
- 30 to 35% off – 27%
- 40 to 45% off – 16%
- 50+% off – 19%
These expectations are realistic. Last year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals lineup had plenty of top tech for upwards of 30% off, clothing for 40% to 50% off and 4K TVs for even bigger discounts. Even the 19% of shoppers who are holding out for discounts of 50%+ off will have plenty to work with.
Our survey was conducted Aug. 29 to Sept. 2 via Google Surveys. We surveyed 5,000 U.S. adults. Most of our insights came from the subgroup of 1,000 who will be shopping Cyber Week sales. Read more about Google Surveys methodology.Black Friday