History of Black Friday and Cyber Monday Spending

Macy is a Content Writer at WebFX. With a Content Marketing Certification, she's an expert in crafting pieces filled with the facts about all things digital marketing. You'll find many of her pieces featured on UpCity's Top Digital Marketing Articles of the Week. When she isn't clacking her keys, she's wondering why her dog is so cute. Follow her on Twitter @iinfinitestorm.

Thanksgiving weekend is the most wonderful time of the year for shoppers looking to save on holiday gifts and household goods.

It’s also a crucial time for the economy, and the National Retail Federation (NRF) estimates that 19% of annual retail sales occur between Black Friday and Christmas, with ecommerce claiming 20% of total holiday sales last year.

In this post, we’ll look at how shopping trends have changed over the years for Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend.

Let’s dive in!

Average Thanksgiving weekend spending

With more people shopping during Thanksgiving weekend, the average amount spent is going up too.

Here’s how much the average shopper spent over Thanksgiving weekend:

  1. 2014: $381
  2. 2015: $300
  3. 2016: $290
  4. 2017: $335
  5. 2018: $313
  6. 2019: $362

Discounts give shoppers more room to spend, which means that, although shoppers are spending more, they’re likely buying more items.

Black Friday online spending

As online shopping becomes more popular, more people buy goods online during Black Friday — before Cyber Monday deals even start — instead of going out to stores to wait for deals.

Here’s how Black Friday online spending has grown over the past few years:

  1. 2014: $1.5 billion
  2. 2015: $2.9 billion
  3. 2016: $3.3 billion
  4. 2017: $5.0 billion
  5. 2018: $6.2 billion
  6. 2019: $7.5 billion

Online shopping will likely continue to grow as more people opt to avoid crowds and get their deals online.

Cyber Monday spending

Originally coined by the National Retail Federation in 2005, Cyber Monday has helped online retailers compete with the influx of shoppers on Black Friday.

According to the NRF, 77% of online retailers said sales increased substantially on Cyber Monday, which prompted the Retail Trade Association to make it an official shopping day.

As more retailers start to offer discounts and special deals for Cyber Monday, more shoppers opt to snatch up these sales.

Here’s how Cyber Monday spending has grown over the past few years:

  1. 2014: $2.65 billion
  2. 2015: $2.98 billion
  3. 2016: $3.45 billion
  4. 2017: $6.59 billion
  5. 2018: $7.9 billion
  6. 2019: $9.4 billion

Cyber Monday is expected to drive increased sales as more companies move towards online deals.

Thanksgiving weekend shoppers

Thanksgiving weekend is filled with shoppers heading to stores to get the most incredible deals.

Here’s how many people have turned out for shopping on Thanksgiving weekend:

  1. 2014: 134 million
  2. 2015: 151 million
  3. 2016: 154 million
  4. 2017: 175 million
  5. 2018: 166 million
  6. 2019: 190 million

Despite the increase in online shopping, shoppers are still turning out to brick-and-mortar stores to get their holiday deals.

Shopping online and in-store

With deals available in-store and online, shoppers aren’t limited in where they can shop. Many people are taking advantage of deals both in-store and online.

Here’s how many people have shopped in-store and online in the past three years:

  1. 2017: 64 million
  2. 2018: 89 million
  3. 2019: 76 million

Seasonal retail positions

The holiday season brings new employment opportunities, but the amount has fluctuated over the years.

Here are the number of seasonal retail positions available over that last few years:

  1. 2014: 697,500
  2. 2015: 675,300
  3. 2016: 690,000
  4. 2017: 641,000
  5. 2018: 668,000
  6. 2019: 562,000

Why consumers holiday shop online

As online shopping increases in popularity, more people opt to stay on their couches and order gifts than to trek to the stores during Thanksgiving weekend. So, why do people opt to shop online instead?

Here are some of the top reasons:

  1. 65% say to avoid crowds
  2. 64% say to have the comfort of shopping from home
  3. 60% say because of free shipping/delivery options
  4. 58% say because of 24-hour availability
  5. 53% say because it’s easy to compare prices

Mobile vs. desktop shopping for Black Friday and Cyber Monday

With online shopping, people are using different devices to get online deals. So, how does mobile usage compare to desktop usage?

In 2018, 66% of sales were on mobile, while 34% of sales were on a desktop.

Many people also use their smartphones to complete their purchases, which isn’t surprising since more than 76% of consumers shop on their smartphones. Just in 2019, 58% of traffic during Black Friday came from mobile devices.

So, how does this activity and traffic equate to sales?

For Black Friday, $2.9 billion worth of sales happened on smartphones.

For Cyber Monday, $3.1 billion in sales came from people using smartphones.

So, does that mean that desktop is obsolete? Absolutely not!

Desktop shoppers filled their carts with items 28% more expensive than mobile shoppers. So, while people may shop more on mobile, they’re making bigger purchases on desktop.

Factors that influence buying decisions on Black Friday

So, what drives people to buy on Black Friday?

Here are some factors that drive people to pull out their credit cards and make a purchase:

  1. Free shipping (49%)
  2. Promotions and limited-time sales (36%)
  3. Easy-to-use website or app (21%)
  4. Buy online pick up in-store (20%)

Buy online and pick up in-store trends

Buy online and pick up in-store (BOPUS) is a popular option for shoppers. It allows people to shop online without having to wait until their package arrives. So, how many people are taking advantage of this feature?

In 2018, BOPUS saw a 50% increase year over year during Thanksgiving weekend.

In 2019, BOPUS saw a 43% increase year over year during Thanksgiving weekend.

Many people are opting to use this service when doing their holiday shopping. In fact, 47% of shoppers say they’ll use BOPUS or curbside pickup for their holiday shopping.

Stores with the biggest Black Friday discounts

Shoppers are always looking for the best deals and discounts for Thanksgiving weekend. So, where are the best places to get the biggest discounts?

Here are some of the top stores where you can save big bucks:

  1. Stage: 70% off
  2. Belk: 67% off
  3. JCPenney: 61% off
  4. Kohls: 57% off
  5. Dick’s Sporting Goods: 52% off

Top products consumers want a holiday discount on

When shoppers are looking for the latest deals, what catches their eye?

Here are the top products consumers look at for deals and discounts:

  1. Clothing (41%)
  2. Home goods or small appliances (38%)
  3. Tablets, TVs, or computers (32%)
  4. Smart home gadgets (30%)
  5. Toys (25%)
  6. Travel (12%)

Cities with the highest interest in Black Friday

While people across the United States are interested in Black Friday shopping, some areas show more interest than others. Based on Google Trends, here are the top cities that have the highest interest in Black Friday shopping:

  1. Greensboro, NC
  2. San Antonio, TX
  3. Jacksonville, FL
  4. Raleigh, NC
  5. Phoenix, AZ

States that spend the most over Black Friday weekend

Shoppers across the country spend, on average, $362 when shopping over Black Friday weekend. But which states spend the most money?

Here are the top five states whose residents spend the most money over Black Friday weekend:

  1. North Dakota: $398 per shopper
  2. Massachusetts: $383 per shopper
  3. Texas: $336 per shopper
  4. Wyoming: $334 per shopper
  5. California: $324 per shopper

Top questions asked about Black Friday on Google

To prep for Black Friday, many people turn to Google to get answers to their burning questions.

Here are the top questions people ask about Black Friday:

  1. When is Black Friday?
  2. Why is it called Black Friday?
  3. When does Black Friday start?
  4. What is Black Friday?
  5. When do Black Friday ads come out?

Black Friday Internet trends

People spend a lot of time researching before they go shopping during Black Friday and Cyber Monday. In fact, 64% of shoppers use either retail stores (or their websites) and mobile apps to research before going shopping.

To add on top of that, 59% of Black Friday searches take place before stores open.

When it comes to finding the best online deals, more people turn to the web to search for them. There were over 90% more mobile searches for “best deals” during the holiday weekend than from two years ago.

People are more likely to prepare for shopping during the weekend, too. At least 52% of people prepared to shop by searching for prices, while 42% prepared by looking for locations, directions, and nearby stock.

So, what about once shoppers are in the store? Do they stop researching then?

Nope! Shoppers keep researching even when they’re in the store!

In fact, in-store shoppers are four times more likely to search on Google for the retail brand of the store they’re in at that moment. For retailers, this behavior signals the need for a presence in search results, as well as posting the most common answers to shopper questions online.

Where shoppers look for holiday gift inspiration

Trying to find the perfect gift is always a challenge.

So, how do holiday shoppers find a gift their friends and family will love?

Here are the top places people go for holiday gift inspiration:

  1. 47% search online
  2. 41% turn to friends and family
  3. 38% look within a retail store
  4. 30% use wish lists
  5. 28% use advertising circulars

Before Black Friday and Cyber Monday even start, ecommerce stores and brick-and-mortar retailers can begin to guide shoppers to their products. Create dedicated “Gifts for…” sections on your site to help people find the perfect gift for a friend, co-worker, sibling, or partner, for example.

What social platforms consumers use to get gift inspiration

Social media is an excellent place for people to get inspiration for gifts, but which platforms do people use to find the right gift?

Here’s how these social media platforms stack up:

  1. 13% use Facebook
  2. 10% use Pinterest
  3. 9% use Instagram
  4. 5% use Twitter
  5. 3% use Snapchat

Your ecommerce store or brick-and-mortar business can take advantage of these social media networks and their influence in shopper behavior by running social media ads, for instance, or sharing articles on the best gifts to get this season.

Global Black Friday weekend sales

Black Friday isn’t just limited to the United States. A few countries across the globe participate in Black Friday weekend. Here are some of the countries that spent the most during Black Friday Weekend in 2019:

  1. UK: $11 billion
  2. Germany: $8 billion
  3. France: $7 billion

The dark side of Black Friday

Sadly, Black Friday bargains don’t always bring out the best in holiday shoppers.

Since 2006, there have been 11 deaths and 108 injuries caused by Black Friday shopping.

This dark side isn’t limited to violence, either.

At least 12% of shoppers admitted to shopping under the influence of alcohol.

Intoxication isn’t the only example of waste during the holidays, either. From Thanksgiving to New Year’s, Americans throw away 25% more trash than any other time of the year. This extra waste amounts to 25 million tons of garbage — about 1 million extra tons each week.

Increase your Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales with WebFX

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are one of the busiest shopping seasons for traditional and online retailers. Together, they offer an excellent opportunity for you to earn more sales for your business.

Want to sell more online this season with Black Friday digital marketing?

Check out our online marketplace guide — and contact WebFX to start boosting ecommerce sales today!