5 Things We Learned About Black Friday This Year – As Told By The Data 
By Sidney Morgan-Petro

WGSN’s Retail editor analyses the data around one of the busiest shopping days and offers up key takeaways about consumer behaviour.

Dec 01, 2016

2 photos

Black Friday 2016, was, as expected another retail big hitter. Consumers came out and shopped, grabbing bargains and taking advantage of the markdowns. Now, that the dust has settled around the shopping frenzy, we giving you the lowdown on what key lessons we’ve learned.

We took a deep-dive into the numbers, pulling key messages from WGSN Instock (our all-encompassing retail data product which subscribers can access here), as well as data from One Click Retail and Google Trends. Here’s what we found…

1.It’s Okay to Self-Gift. In fact, it’s encouraged. Of all the product categories to be discounted this black Friday weekend, party dresses were at the very top, accounting for 24% of the apparel mark-downs with an average discount of 32% off – according to WGSN INstock data. As dresses aren’t at the top of anyone’s gift-giving list, it is safe to assume that these purchases are made for self-gifting to wear to that office party, cocktail soiree, ladies night out, etc…

So what, you might ask, are the most protected categories (with the lowest proportion of discounts?) Well the most giftable ones of course! Fitness, lingerie and sleepwear saw the lowest markdowns within apparel assortments.

Screen Shot 2016-12-01 at 4.26.40 PM

2.For Some, Black Friday Begins Earlier. Consumers and retailers are playing a delicate tug-of-war, with retailers extending Black Friday deals to the week before and the week after Black Friday. This is causing a shift in shopping patterns as attentive consumers with clear purchases in mind get a jump-start on Black Friday. WGSN Instock data shows products with some or all skus out-of-stock peaked on the Thursday before Black Friday this year. The early bird got that worm.

3.While Others Take A Stand Against The Black Friday Creep. While consumers seem generally responsive to Black Friday deals beginning earlier – often on Thanksgiving day – retailers, store employees and labour unions are on the offense. Spurred by the positive feedback from REI’s #optoutside campaign last year, more retailers such as TJMaxx and Mall of America have established anti-Black Friday stances that reiterate the importance of being with your family on Thanksgiving and not buying into increasing consumerism.



4.Big Box Retail Reigns Supreme. The Google results are in and there is an overwhelming interest from the general shopping public in what Wal-Mart plans to do for Black Friday. Topping the ‘related search’ query, Wal-Mart and Black Friday go hand-in-hand for many curious shoppers, practically doubling the inquiries of big box competitors such as Target, JCPenney and Sears. Holding strong at number two? Best Buy.

5. Destination Black Friday Shopping? Amazon Deals Are Better Overseas. Recent statistics from One Click Retail, a firm dealing solely with retail giant Amazon, reveals that overseas shoppers are saving the most. The average US shopper saves 75% on Amazon.com on Black Friday while shoppers in the UK save an average of 82% and France sees an 84% savings. Germany and Canada rank lower on the savings pole, averaging 59 and 63% savings respectively.

Love this? Join WGSN for access to WGSN Instock, the retail data tool that helps your business make the most informed decisions.

Subscribe to WGSN

Experience the leading provider of consumer foresight.

Related stories

3 photos
eBay's latest retail pop-up tracks shoppers emotions on camera

6 photos
Why brands need to give more thought to their packaging

YOOX Net-A-Porter: How mobile commerce is dominating the luxury market

Fashion and politics
Fashion, politics and the dividing line

3 photos
Should retailers opt out of holiday discounting?