Black Friday 2021 Insights Every Retailer Should Know

by Samuel Northrup • ,

Even with global supply chain issues expected to continue into the new year, Adobe Analytics forecasts online holiday sales will top $200 billion for the first time, including $9.5 billion in Black Friday 2021 sales. We put together a list of four consumer insights using data from a recent survey of online shoppers to help retailers anticipate the holiday rush.

1. Most Consumers Will Still Do Their Black Friday Shopping Online

Public health concerns and safety measures in response to COVID-19 left many consumers with no other option but to embrace ecommerce for their 2020 holiday shopping. This led to a record $9 billion in online Black Friday sales. In 2021, most consumers will continue doing their Black Friday shopping from home despite the widespread availability of coronavirus vaccines across the country.

Of the 6,000 online shoppers surveyed by Bizrate Insights in October 2021, 72% said they did not plan on shopping in a brick-and-mortar store this Black Friday. However, younger consumers showed significantly more interest in going to physical stores than older ones. One in 3 consumers ages 18 to 44 said they planned to shop in a store on Black Friday compared to 1 in 5 of those ages 45 and up.

bar graph black friday 2021 in-store shopping plans by age

The difference in shopping preferences was even more apparent between the youngest and oldest respondents to Bizrate Insights’ survey: Generation Z shoppers were 2.5 times more likely than Baby Boomers to shop in store on Black Friday 2021.

2. Clothing, Accessories, and Jewelry Are the Most Popular Items Among In-Store Black Friday 2021 Shoppers

Of the 28% of shoppers who plan to go to a store on Black Friday 2021, 62% said they will be looking at clothing, accessories, and jewelry. This category was by far the most popular among in-store shoppers of all ages.

Sixty-eight percent of consumers ages 18 to 44 and 58% of those ages 45 and older said they planned on shopping for clothing, accessories, and jewelry in a physical store. Notably, 70% of all female consumers who responded to this question said they would shop for these items in store on Black Friday.

Clothing, accessories, and jewelry encompass products many consumers prefer to try on for fit and style before purchasing. One in 5 respondents surveyed said their main reason for going to a physical location on Black Friday would be to try on or see items in person before buying.

bar graph black friday 2021 popular shopping categories

3. Mask and Vaccine Requirements Will Not Impact Consumer Decisions to Shop in Store on Black Friday 2021

State and local governments have largely eased public health protocols that were present throughout the 2020 holiday shopping season. In accordance with these changes and updated Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, many big-box retailers dropped mask mandates for the fully vaccinated as far back as spring 2021.

The spread of the more contagious delta variant has caused the CDC to urge caution and safety again this holiday season. But Bizrate Insights’ findings suggest most consumers will be unfazed by the presence of a mask or vaccine requirement when deciding to visit a brick-and-mortar store. Seventy-three percent of consumers said a retailer’s mask mandate would not influence their decisions to shop in store on Black Friday, while 71% said the same for vaccine requirements.

pie chart black friday 2021 impact of mask mandates

4. Consumers Are Mixed on Their Concerns about Out-of-Stock Items This Holiday Season

Backlogs of container ships at major ports, ongoing labor shortages, and coronavirus outbreaks worldwide have all combined to put extraordinary stress on the global supply chain. Combine that with the massive spike in demand associated with the holiday shopping season, and consumers are likely to see more out-of-stock messages than in previous years.

pie chart of yes or no responses from shoppers where 53% said they were more concerned about out-of-stock items on Black Friday 2021 than in the past

However, only 53% of consumers surveyed said they were more concerned about out-of-stock items this year than they were in the past. Despite the relatively even split in responses to this question, retailers still should anticipate a surge in demand and be prepared to temper consumer expectations for shipping times as they navigate this complex situation.

Even as it predicts record totals for online holiday sales in the U.S., Adobe Analytics recently estimated the prevalence of out-of-stock messages has risen 172% compared to pre-pandemic totals. Consequently, the weakened global supply chain could drive average online prices up by more than 9% during Cyber 5 compared to last year.

Check Back for More Holiday Shopping Reports

We track consumer trends with help from the thousands of retailers that make up the Bizrate Insights network. From Black Friday 2021 through the new year, check back with our blog for more holiday reporting and industry insights formulated using responses from thousands of verified online shoppers.

Are you looking for ways to improve your customer experience strategy in 2022? We have surveys designed to help retailers of all sizes gather and leverage verified feedback from their customers. Take a demo to learn how you can set up your first survey at no cost.

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