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Black Friday 2017 Shopping Report: Consumer sentiment is riding high

An annual survey to better understanding changing consumer attitudes to Black Friday and explore how they plan to shop for the 2017 season

Marking the unofficial start of the Christmas shopping season, Black Friday falls on the day after the American Thanksgiving public holiday – a day when US retailers traditionally offer hefty discounts designed to tempt families into stores to pick up bargains.

In recent years, UK retailers have followed the lead of their US counterparts, offering in-store and online promotions and deals designed to capture the imaginations and wallets of consumers in the run up to Christmas.

This year’s Black Friday shopping extravaganza falls on 24 November 2017. As retailers on both sides of the Atlantic prepare to gear up for the event, the Black Friday 2017 Shopping Report provides deep insights into consumer expectations surrounding Black Friday – alongside a detailed snapshot of their shopping intentions and potential behaviors on the day.

This year’s survey examines:

  • Consumer sentiment toward Black Friday – whether consumers intend to shop and, if so, their motivations for doing so
  • The top product categories consumers propose to shop – evaluating what’s trending with consumers and how much they anticipate spending compared to last year
  • Online, in-store or both – fuelled by the drive to get a bargain, will the convenience and ease of digital channels win out over shopping in the physical store?

This is the second year that Periscope by McKinsey has polled consumers to evaluate how they plan to shop on Black Friday. In this year’s survey we’ve gone deeper than before. As well as asking consumers to share their views around personalized marketing, we also explore if the ‘buy online, pick-up in-store’ omnichannel proposition is likely to incentivize consumers into making an online Black Friday purchase with one retailer over another.

As the industry gets ready to jump-start this year’s Black Friday preparations, the findings of the Black Friday 2017 Shopping Report deliver clear predictions on how shoppers will behave on the day, together with actionable insights that can help retailers leverage potential revenue opportunities on what has become one the most significant shopping events of the year.

Key findings: consumers are more motivated to shop

Deal fever grips consumers – with UK shoppers most enthused

The findings from this year’s survey1 indicate that consumer expectations around Black Friday are riding high. Of the 3,226 respondents (2,585 from US and 641 from UK) who originally participated in the survey2, almost half (44%) of US consumers confirmed they will be shopping this Black Friday – compared to just 26% who signalled they planned to participate in 2016 and 23% who were undecided.

Are you planning on shopping for the “Black Friday” deals during the period after Thanksgiving this year?

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The popularity of Black Friday in the UK, however, has spiked considerably. An impressive 81% of UK consumers said they intend to shop this Black Friday – compared to just 22% who anticipated getting involved in 2016 and 30% who were on the fence. So, what’s driving this stark jump in intent on both sides of the Atlantic?

Despite weak wage growth and higher inflation, UK consumers are defying expectations and continuing to spend – for these cash-pressed consumers, Black Friday may represent an opportunity to make big ticket purchases at discount prices and get Christmas gift purchases underway. In the US, meanwhile, consumer confidence has been steadily returning and hit a five-month high in August 2017, buttressed by strengthening optimism about current business conditions.

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