Crowds are back! 43% actually missed the chaos of in-person Black Friday shopping

NEW YORK — Two in five (43%) Americans say they actually miss the chaos of in-person Black Friday shopping each year. A poll of 2,003 U.S. adults found 95 percent plan to participate in Black Friday and Cyber Monday events in 2022, with a third planning to shop both online and in-store.

Not having to wait in lines makes online sales for both events appealing (46%) to respondents — more so than avoiding COVID-19 risks (36%) and not having to stay up all night (31%) to shop in person. However, the survey, commissioned by UserTesting and conducted by OnePoll, finds shopping in brick-and-mortar stores is en vogue again.

Many people who tend to shop for holiday sales online claim they’d be more motivated to frequent brick-and-mortar stores this year for Black Friday as long as they get instant gratification when shopping (46%) and have the availability of curbside shopping (28%).

More Gen Z respondents than millennials cited immediate fulfillment as their primary driver to shop these events in person (81% vs. 49%).

1 in 3 still worry about shopping in-person again

Overall, 42 percent say in-store Black Friday shopping holds more importance for them than it did before the pandemic, including nearly half (49%) of male respondents. Another 63 percent consider in-store Black Friday shopping to be a tradition. However, there are some parts of e-commerce people wish they could bring into a brick-and-mortar store. This includes being able to see what aisle an item is in (51%) and using promo codes or digital coupons (47%).

Some also face barriers to participating in this year’s in-store events, including lack of convenience due to weather conditions and long lines (34%), seeing better deals online (34%), and health and safety concerns (33%).

“The pandemic has certainly made many people nostalgic for the in-person Black Friday experience, but it’s also heightened their expectations,” says Janelle Estes, Chief Insights Officer at UserTesting, in a statement. “Our research shows half of consumers who plan to shop in stores for this year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday events would like smart shopping carts to navigate through the aisles and easily find products.”

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Shoppers are getting strategic because of inflation

Holiday shoppers are also thinking about inflation. Nearly a third (31%) expect to spend more money on Black Friday and Cyber Monday than in previous years. The average person spent $441 three years ago and plans to buy $557 worth of on-sale items in 2022.

However, their increased spending is strategic, as 48 percent plan to spread their holiday shopping out across a longer period of time due to economic uncertainties.

“With 42 percent saying they plan to shop in the metaverse this year, brands must continuously work to become more phygital, bridging the gap between the physical and digital customer experience,” Janelle adds. “That includes maintaining consistent quality both in-store and online, as well as keeping consumers engaged by using features such as augmented reality, live video shopping, or digital kiosks.”

Survey methodology

This random double-opt-in survey of 2,003 Americans who have participated in Black Friday and/or Cyber Monday shopping was commissioned by UserTesting between September 26 and September 28, 2022. It was conducted by market research company 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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