Americans are ready to splurge on Black Friday, but many plan to shop earlier than ever before

How are American shoppers feeling about Black Friday 2021, amid ongoing pandemic restrictions and supply chain challenges? We asked 1,000 Americans for their opinions.

Just under half of Americans (46%) say they will buy something on Black Friday, closely followed by 33% who are undecided on taking part. And one in five (21%) have already decided they will not buy any products on the day.

Meanwhile, our new Black Friday research highlights that recent well-publicized supply chain issues are changing how a significant amount of Americans shop in the run-up to the holiday season. While most (55%) say the recent issues have not altered their approach, 42% state they’ve begun their Christmas shopping earlier than ever in response to supply chains being disrupted. What else does this consumer profiling research tell us? Let’s look at the highlights.

Consumers’ attitudes towards Black Friday 2021

Of those (46%) who do plan to buy products on Black Friday:

  • We found a wide divergence amongst Americans on how much they plan to spend. Most plan to spend $300-$500 (22%), followed by $100-200 (21%) and $200-$300 (20%). However, around one in ten (12%) plan to splurge over $750-$1,000 on the day, despite concerns around inflation and the general economic outlook.  
  • Over half (58%) will buy products both in-person and online, with a quarter (25%) purchasing items exclusively online, while 17% plan to only make purchases in person. 
  • Technology products (69%) and clothing (68%) dominate Americans’ retail desires for the day, followed by home goods (51%) beauty products (39%), and kitchen appliances (30%).

Our research also uncovers fatigue amongst consumers for month-long Black Friday bonanzas, with most (43%) wanting one to three days’ worth of sales, or for it to return to its roots as a one-day event (26%). 

Despite this, Black Friday does appear to loom large in the American public’s minds when trying to land a bargain. A majority of (58%) believe that Black Friday is the best day of the year to buy heavily discounted products, versus just 12% who disagree.

When it comes to retailers that are top of mind, consumers were most likely to select Walmart as their top choice for Black Friday sales, followed by Amazon, Target and Macy’s.

How Americans feel about in-store shopping

We also delved into how at ease the American public is shopping in-person despite the ongoing pandemic. A sizable majority of nearly two-thirds (65%) say they are “comfortable” shopping in-person regardless of the ongoing pandemic. Millennials are most likely to hold this point of view, followed by Gen Z. 

By contrast, over one in ten (17%) feel uncomfortable, led, perhaps surprisingly by Gen X, with crowded shops and unvaccinated people cited as the two biggest reasons for this apprehension towards in-person shopping. 

Finally, when quizzed on how brick-and-mortar shops should approach potentially crowded in-store shopping this Black Friday, respondents say retailers should:

  • Require masks in-store (41%)
  • Limit the amount of persons allowed in-store at once (31%)
  • Be allowed to approach in-store shopping however they want (25%)
  • Should not be running in-store shopping promotions (10%)
  • Should not follow any pandemic protocol (8%)

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Marcus Evans

Senior Content Marketing Manager 

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