Study: Now Globally-Recognized, Black Friday and Cyber Monday have Significant Impact on the Holiday Shopping Season in Many Countries Beyond the US

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An international study from Simon-Kucher & Partners shows awareness of Black Friday and Cyber Monday varies between countries, and as such, countries plan to spend varying amounts compared to the US

A recent study* conducted by Simon-Kucher & Partners, a global strategy and marketing consulting firm, confirmed that Black Friday is well-known among consumers of all ages in many countries outside of the US, including Germany, Italy, Spain, Denmark, and Sweden (almost 100 percent recognition). However, the shopping holiday is not yet widely-recognized in all countries, especially in Asia – in Japan, only 54 percent of respondents have heard of Black Friday. While Cyber Monday is nearly as recognizable as Black Friday in the US (recognized by 95 percent of consumers), it too is catching on in countries such as Germany, where more than 80 percent of consumers are familiar with the on-line shopping day. In countries such as Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Turkey, and the US, 80 percent of respondents plan to use the day for shopping.

The study also revealed that a high level of awareness does not necessarily translate to a high likelihood of shopping. In Latin America, the awareness of Black Friday is very high (96 percent), but only about a third of the respondents intend to shop on the day (37 percent).

US Consumers Won’t Be The Big-Spenders during Black Friday and Cyber Monday

There are also regional differences when it comes to budget. In the US, consumers are planning an average budget of more than $250 on Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping. However, German and Danish consumers plan to spend even more, indicating that they will spend an average of 242 euros (or $268 dollars) in Germany and an average of 286 euros (or $316 dollars) in Denmark. However, the real big-spenders for this holiday shopping season seem to be consumers from the UAE, with an average planned budget of more than $750 dollars (due, in part, to higher prices in the region). Of course, these amounts across all countries pale in comparison to Singles Day in Asia, where 2019 smashed records and generated more than $38B in volume (or more than Amazon’s entire Q3 online sales).

Strategies Should Be Determined Based On Awareness Levels

"Understanding consumers’ awareness levels of shopping events is essential for retailers in these countries and should definitely be taken into account when planning the year-round promotional strategy," said Hubert Paul, Director at Simon-Kucher.

This is particularly imperative when considering behavior in markets such as the US and Germany, where Black Friday and Cyber Monday are similarly well-established but differ in their respective reasons and decisiveness for shopping. While in the electronics category, for example, almost half of German consumers often already know which product they want to buy, but the number is cut in half in the US, as less than 25 percent of US consumers are looking for specific products. In fact, in electronics, apparel, and other key categories, a majority of US consumers still like to be inspired before making purchasing decisions.

"Consumers, regardless of country, wait all year to take advantage of these deals. As such, an important part of revenues on Black Friday and Cyber Monday are not just additional sales, but targeted and planned purchases," explains Paul. "To avoid endangering the profitability of the entire year, a differentiated view for the different categories is absolutely necessary. Retailers should then adjust accordingly in each market, taking advantage of local nuances to drive traffic to their stores (and sites) and entice shoppers to buy more once they are there.”

*About the study: The study Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2019 was conducted by Simon-Kucher in October and November as an online survey. A total of nearly 12,000 consumers in 14 countries (Argentina, Chile, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Japan, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, Mexico, Netherlands, UAE, US) were asked about their consumer behavior on these two days.