Black Friday 2021: Consumer Survey Insights

Learn what our global survey of more than 4,000 consumers says about Black Friday 2021 plans, including who's shopping online and in-store and more.
Updated on April 4, 2024

One of the year’s biggest sales events—Black Friday—is just weeks away. Last year’s event was an anomaly in many ways. Amazon Prime Day 2020 was moved from summer to mid-October, kicking off an earlier than ever shopping season. At the same time, many retailers closed their brick-and-mortar locations due to COVID-19 concerns. We can look at sales data from last year to understand what happened and start to plan for this year, but another question looms: What will shopping behaviors look like this year?

As we approach Black Friday 2021, the world and the factors that impact commerce have changed. To understand how those changes have affected consumers and how they plan to shop this Black Friday, we asked them.

We surveyed more than 4,000 consumers in nine countries across the globe earlier this month to find out their plans for Black Friday this year. Here’s what marketers and retailers need to know:

Millennials will rule Black Friday this year, both in-store and online

According to our survey, more than half of all shoppers worldwide say they’re likely to shop in stores this Black Friday, and 71% plan to shop online. Of the respondents, Millennials are more likely than any other age group to shop on the season’s biggest day, and they plan to do so both in-store and online. In fact, close to six out 10 (57%) Millennials intend to shop in stores, five points above average, and three quarters (75%) say they plan on shopping online during this year’s Black Friday event.

How likely are you to shop on Black Friday this year

By contrast, Boomers expect to stay away from physical stores this Black Friday: barely four out of 10 (39%) say they plan on shopping in stores. They are also the least likely to shop online during the event, indicating their overall avoidance of the day.

It’s interesting to note that the likelihood to shop on Black Friday (either in-store or online) was nearly the same across different income levels.

Explore Black Friday shopping intent by country

Select your country of interest in the interactive chart below to see these trends for your region:

80% of consumers will discover a new online store this Black Friday

Our results showed that eight out of 10 shoppers say they typically discover new online stores on Black Friday, making it one of the best opportunities to capture new customers.

What makes them give a new store a try? The top five factors that influence consumers to try a new online store included: great deals, free shipping, discounts on products not offered elsewhere, fast shipping, and early deals (before Black Friday).

Black Friday 2021 discovery and loyalty insights

How do you turn these new shoppers into loyal customers? Our research suggests that beyond offering great prices, and free and fast shipping, three variables make a significant difference in customer loyalty:

Product selection. The fourth most-frequently cited reason why shoppers return to websites they’ve discovered on Black Friday is that they offer deals on products that aren’t discounted anywhere else.

Customer service. Right after product selection, great customer service is listed as a reason shoppers come back to a website they’ve discovered on Black Friday.

Purchasing experience. On par with customer service, shoppers say that a great purchasing experience will bring them back to buy again.

Explore Black Friday discovery and loyalty factors by country

Select your country of interest in the interactive chart below to see these trends for your region:

Most consumers will start their Black Friday purchase journey 11/19 or sooner

Over half (54%) of shoppers worldwide say they start thinking about Black Friday deals at least a week beforehand. Nearly a quarter of those (24%) begin the process two to four or more weeks in advance of the event.

Black Friday 2021 purchase journey

Explore Black Friday purchase journey trends by country

Select your country of interest in the interactive chart below to see the purchase journey trend for your region:

Black Friday 2021: Campaign Tips for Marketers

Based on what consumers told us in our survey, here are three tips marketers should keep in mind when planning for this year’s Black Friday sales event:

  1. With Millennials planning to shop both online and in-store in big numbers this Black Friday, a strong omnichannel strategy is key. Think: ads that feature items in stock in a store nearby that they can click and collect, or uploading customer lists to reach offline-only buyers online.
  2. To acquire new customers, in addition to the standards of great deals and fast and free shipping, offer discounts on products that they can’t find elsewhere. And be sure your customer service and purchasing experiences are stellar throughout the peak shopping season – it could mean all the difference in getting new buyers to return in 2022.
  3. Stay top of mind and influence the purchase journey right from the start by making sure you’re in-market with Black Friday campaigns in early November at the latest. Our survey shows that shoppers begin thinking about Black Friday at least a week in advance, and three out of 10 shoppers said early deals are one of the reasons they try new online stores on Black Friday.

Get more tips for your seasonal strategy inside The 2021 Holiday Commerce Report. Download your copy by filling out the form below.

Ann Pyle

Ann revels in finding the simplest and clearest way to convey a thought. Her favorite word is 'moxie', which she tries to embody whenever possible. She's been developing content strategies and writing for the tech and B2B space for more than a decade. This, along with her SEO and advertising agency ...

Senior Manager Global Content

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