Global Black Friday Forecast Reveals Consumer Behavior has Changed During the Pandemic, New Opportunities for Retailers Emerge this Holiday Shopping Season

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Rachel Pope

Rachel Pope

Public Relations Manager
Boston, USA
Angela Ott

Angela Ott

Senior Public Relations Manager
Cologne, Germany

Though Black Friday and Cyber Monday budgets have decreased since last year, online shopping and spontaneous purchases are on the rise – retailers should focus on strategic promotions and cross-selling opportunities rather than relying solely on discounts.

The Global Black Friday Forecast* conducted by Simon-Kucher & Partners, a global strategy and marketing consulting firm, revealed that Black Friday and Cyber Monday (Singles Day in China) are continuing to grow in popularity across the world, with Black Friday remaining the most widely-recognized sales event of the holiday season. However, while willingness to buy during these holiday shopping events is above 50 percent across almost all countries surveyed, this number has decreased year over year. The study, based on a representative sample of more than 11,000 consumers across 14 countries, indicates that the pandemic has had significant impact on consumer shopping behavior for this upcoming holiday shopping season – across all countries, more than 60 percent of consumers agreed that the pandemic has influenced their shopping behavior. Among the most noticeable changes are the shift to online shopping for safety reasons, increased emphasis on shopping locally, and a stronger focus on Black Friday in order to save money during holiday shopping.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday continue to dominate the holiday shopping season

Across all countries surveyed, respondents overwhelmingly indicate familiarity with Black Friday. In fact, in six of the 14 countries surveyed (Germany, Spain, the Netherlands, Sweden, the UK, and the UAE),100 percent of respondents indicate they are familiar with the holiday shopping event– in the US, 94 percent of consumers say they know about Black Friday. The countries with the lowest levels of recognition are China (87 percent) and Australia (84 percent).

While awareness of Cyber Monday remains slightly lower, a majority of respondents in 11 of the 14 countries are aware of the online shopping event – leaving only Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and China, where Singles Day is the more popular event.

Spending may be down, but retailers can still thrive if they adopt new tactics

The pandemic is leading to a decrease in shopping expenditures across all countries -- globally, the average budget for shopping during Black Friday and Cyber Monday is between $230 and $300. The countries that boast the highest budgets are Denmark, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE, while Australia and New Zealand represent the smallest budgets. 

“For many countries, especially those hit hardest by the pandemic, we see that consumers are being more cautious when it comes to spending their discretionary incomes,” says Shikha Jain, a Partner in the global Consumer Goods & Retail practice at Simon-Kucher in Boston, USA. “Interestingly, despite their cautiousness, we’re also seeing that consumers are less likely to pre-plan their Black Friday and Cyber Monday purchases, and are more likely to browse and make spontaneous purchases – this reveals a major opportunity for retailers to sharpen their promotions and maximize cross-sell opportunities as consumers will be browsing across multiple categories.”

Online shopping is now a matter of both convenience and safety

Consumer preferences lean towards online shopping in the majority of countries – most popular is in China, where 70 percent of those surveyed said they plan to shop online. In three countries, New Zealand, the Netherlands, and the UAE, preferences favor offline shopping. 

 “With less foot traffic to brick-and-mortar shops anticipated this year, retailers will need to look beyond traditional tactics they’ve relied on in years past, such as doorbusters and experiential shopping activations,” says Nina Scharwenka, a Partner in the global Consumer Goods & Retail practice at Simon-Kucher in Munich, Germany.  “This year, it will be critical for retailers to pull consumers to their online shops through any available online marketing channels and offer them a unique shopping experience online, such as concept corners or live events with influencers, to boost cross-selling and up-selling opportunities.”

Full study report available upon request

*About the study: The Global Black Friday Forecast was conducted by Simon-Kucher & Partners and Dynata in September, 2020. More than 11,000 people across 14 countries (Australia, China, Denmark, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States) were surveyed about their shopping preferences and behaviors for this year’s holiday season. This study was led by a group of experts from Simon-Kucher’s global Consumer Goods & Retail practice: the United States: Shikha Jain (Partner) & Hubert Paul (Director); Germany: Nina Scharwenka (Partner) & Frederike von Wissel (Director); China: Shengyun Lu (Managing Director); the United Arab Emirates/Saudi Arabia: Lovrenc Kessler (Partner); Denmark: Nicolai Broby Eckert (Partner); Sweden: Andreas Jonason (Partner); Turkey: Mert Terzioglu (Partner); Australia/New Zealand: Christoph Petzoldt (Partner); Italy: Francesco Fiorese (Partner); Spain: Guillermo Sagnier (Partner); the United Kingdom: James Brown (Partner); and the Netherlands: Jos Eeland (Partner)

 

Simon-Kucher & Partners, Strategy & Marketing Consultants:
Simon-Kucher & Partners is a global consulting firm with more than 1,400 professionals in 40 offices worldwide focusing on TopLine Power®. Founded in 1985, the company has 35 years of experience providing strategy and marketing consulting and is regarded as the world’s leading pricing advisor.