Consumer Confidence and Fear of Recession Impact Black Friday Spending Plans

  • 82% of Global Consumers Concerned About Rising Prices for Energy and Food

  • 51% Cutting Back on Non-Essential Purchases and 39% Shopping More in Discount Retailers

  • Only US Shoppers Plan to Spend More this Black Friday Compared with Last Year

Boston Consulting Group (BCG) published the results of a major Black Friday consumer survey examining the spending plans of consumers in nine markets (AustraliaAustriaFranceGermanyItalySpainSwitzerland, UK, and US).

The study found that Black Friday is an integral part of the shopping calendar, with 98% of consumers aware of it, and 66% saying they will hunt for bargains. In this context, year-end holiday gift shopping will happen early this year as 95% of shoppers intend to use Black Friday to bag bargains for their gift list. However, consumer spending is changing as the impact of rising prices for food and energy, and increasing fear of a global recession, lead consumers to look for more promotional purchases and make greater use of discount stores.

Consumer Spending Set to Fall in Most Markets

Consumers in eight out of the nine countries surveyed plan to spend less on Black Friday compared with last year, with Australian consumers saying their spend will be down 18% and French and German shoppers saying they will spend 15% less. Only US consumers say they plan to increase their Black Friday spending, by 6% to $445 compared with a global average of $355* (*weighted average based on population).

“Black Friday is a vital moment in the shopping calendar for physical and online retailers still recovering from the Covid pandemic and now facing consumers in many markets who are reducing their spending plans for many non-essential items,” said Jessica Distler, BCG Managing Director and Partner.

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Despite the continued tough environment for retailers and the intense battle for customers, the survey found that only 32% of consumers were satisfied with their shopping experience during last year’s Black Friday events, with 50% of US shoppers frustrated by stock shortages.

“To win back customer spending and loyalty in this increasingly tough market, retailers need to establish a strong omni-channel proposition. We expect online only shopping, especially for direct-to-consumer (DTC) brand websites, to see a stagnation or even reversal of their Covid-era gains while marketplaces gain momentum and require an effective 3P partner management,” adds Julia Hohmann-Altmeier, BCG Associate Director for Customer Experience.

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Black Friday Continues to Turn Green

Socially responsible shopping is proving very resilient, especially among younger shoppers, even as the economic outlook toughens. Fifty-one percent of consumers intend to buy more local brands or products, with 46% saying they are paying more attention to sustainable packaging and 40% looking to shop with more responsible companies and retailers. This year’s Black Friday will also see the shift to secondhand continue, with 37% of consumers saying they intend to look for products on resale platforms.

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