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In-store Black Friday holiday shopping is back—but with new expectations

by | Nov 15, 2022 | Marketing, Public Relations

The pandemic prevented consumers from participating in traditional Black Friday shopping the last few years, and retailers relied on omnichannel shopping experiences like curbside pickup and same-day delivery that consumers are now accustomed to. But this year, brands have an opportunity to draw those customers to stores by incorporating experiential features into stores, new research from video-based insights firm UserTesting reveals.

Despite inflation, most consumers anticipate spending as much or more this year on Black Friday than in previous years, which reinforces the longing for pre-pandemic Black Friday in-store shopping experiences with online shopping conveniences, the global survey conducted by market research firm OnePoll finds.

Consumers who prefer to shop in-store across the globe do so for a variety of reasons including instant gratification, better deals, no shipping costs, knowing which items are in stock, and a better overall customer experience. Adding features like smart shopping carts, digital coupon codes, and self checkout can help attract those who now prefer the convenience of online shopping.

“The pandemic has certainly made many people nostalgic for the in-person Black Friday experience, but it’s also heightened their expectations,” said Janelle Estes, chief insights officer at UserTesting, in a news release. “Our research shows half of consumers who plan to shop in stores for this year’s Black Friday events would like smart shopping carts to navigate through the aisles and easily find products—underscoring the demand for retailers to provide customers with an effortless shopping journey.”

The survey also revealed that:

  • More Americans miss the chaos of in-person Black Friday shopping and twice as many consider it a tradition over consumers from the United Kingdom or Australia.
  • Despite inflation, consumers from the United States, Australia, and the UK expect to spend the same or more on holiday shopping this year.

Highlights from the United States

  • 63 percent consider in-store Black Friday shopping a tradition.
  • 2 in 5 Americans miss the chaos of in-person Black Friday shopping.
  • Despite inflation, 31 percent plan to spend more money than previous years. 26 percent plan to spend about the same amount as previously and 40 percent plan to spend less.
  • 42 percent said in-store Black Friday shopping holds more importance for them than it did before the pandemic.
  • 95 percent plan to participate in Black Friday and Cyber Monday events for 2022 with one third planning to shop both online and in-store.
  • Despite inflation, nearly one third expect to spend more money on Black Friday and Cyber Monday in 2022 than in previous years.
  • Shopping in actual stores is en vogue again, with instant gratification a top motivator, more so than curbside shopping (46 percent vs 28 percent).
  • When asked what online shopping features they wished they could bring into a store with them, respondents said they’d like to see where items are located in-store (51 percent) and use promo codes/digital coupons (47 percent).
  • More Gen Zers than Millennials cited immediate fulfillment as their primary driver to shop these events in person (81 percent vs 49 percent).

Highlights from United Kingdom

  • 28 percent consider in-store Black Friday shopping a tradition.
  • 1 in 5 admit a part of them misses the chaos of in-person Black Friday shopping.
  • Despite inflation, 12 percent plan to spend more money than previous years: 44 percent plan to spend about the same amount as previously and 37 percent plan to spend less.
  • Of those who plan to spend money on holiday sales this year, 38 percent plan to spread their holiday shopping out across a longer period of time due to economic uncertainties, while 27 percent don’t.
  • Of those who prefer to shop in-person:
    • Respondents claim in-store holiday shopping is better than online because: things are either in stock or out of stock so they aren’t worrying about backordered items (34 percent); they have the ability to get a raincheck for items if they are out of stock (27 percent); and they don’t have to deal with items being immediately out of stock (26 percent). And 26 percent of people also felt online shopping didn’t feel like “real” shopping.
    • Respondents would like to experience a number of useful additions to their shopping experience this year: smart shopping carts to navigate through the aisles and easily find products (37 percent), digital personal assistant/sales associate/robot (34 percent), QR codes to order inventory, item/s brought to you by sales associates (32 percent), self-checkout; in-queue checkout (31 percent), and digital help kiosks/price checking (29 percent).
  • When asked what online shopping features they wished they could bring into a store with them, respondents said they’d like to have free shipping or delivery (41 percent), using promo codes/digital coupons (40 percent), being able to see where items are located in-store (34 percent), being able to reserve items in your cart (32 percent), and contactless checkout/payment (21 percent).
  • 33 percent of respondents said they prefer having digital or self-checkout when shopping in a store. 23 percent prefer contactless payment options and 20 percent like having human-to-human interaction.

This random double-opt-in survey of 2,003 general population of Americans, 1,000 general population from the United Kingdom and 1,000 general population of Australians was commissioned by UserTesting on September 26, 2022. It was conducted by OnePoll, whose team members are members of the Market Research Society and have corporate membership to the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR).

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Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 12 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richardc@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter

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