Black Friday: How to Shop Less Belligerently

Image from: Poznyakov/Shutterstock

For many, Black Friday has blossomed into a beloved tradition of engaging in fisticuffs with a stranger over the last pink Leapfrog tablet and is a day where the sight of a police officer in riot gear outside of the mall conjures up a warm fuzzy feeling. Apparently this tradition isn’t for everyone, as implied by the estimated 24% Y/Y growth in online shopping on Black Friday this year. It seems for some that the comfort and safety of shopping online was a more appealing way to kick-off their holiday shopping while recovering from a turkey hangover. To get a better sense of how the introverted consumer shopped we looked at some of the online traffic to the ten most visited retailers on Black Friday.

Amazon towers over the competition throughout most of the calendar year. On Black Friday their lead shortened – however they still saw 1.5X as many visits as Walmart, the next largest online retailer. These two combined to make up about half of the shopping traffic amongst the top 10 Black Friday online retailers. Best Buy and Target were the next largest online retailers, but each saw about half as many visits as Walmart.

When looking at the Y/Y market share growth we see that Amazon had gained 4.9ppts since last Black Friday, when they were almost even with Walmart. In the past couple years brick-and-mortar retailers have seen a stronger traffic bump than pure plays on this day, however Amazon gaining market share could possibly indicate a shift towards online shopping outpacing in-store shopping on Black Friday.

There is a spectrum of consumer attitude when looking at what shoppers are doing on brick-and-mortar retailer websites on Black Friday. Shoppers who visit Best Buy, Toys R Us, and Target are significantly more inclined to use the store locator tool. While these shoppers are less likely to purchase online, getting them into a store can be just as valuable, if not more. On the other hand, Walmart and JCPenney online shoppers are more likely to purchase online than try to locate their nearest store. If the coming years see consumers spending a higher share of their budget on the web, these retailers will have a leg up on rival chains.

Last year we started to see a proliferation of Cyber Monday into a week-long affair. Just as Black Friday has crept into the late hours of Thanksgiving, it’s certainly possible that Cyber Monday could start creeping into Black Friday’s territory someday. Presently consumers spend more offline, but brick-and-mortar retailers need to be prepared for growing online spend and the possibility of a stiffer challenge from pure plays.