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Move Over, Black Friday: Consumers Prefer Shopping on Cyber Monday
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Move Over, Black Friday: Consumers Prefer Shopping on Cyber Monday

U.S. retailers have long considered Black Friday the unofficial start of the critical holiday selling season, but newly released results from Nielsen’s Holiday Spending Forecast study indicate that 85 percent of consumers plan on skipping the stores on Black Friday this year. Instead, nearly half of consumers (46%) state that they will shop online this Cyber Monday, compared with 30 percent in 2012, a significant 16-point increase.

Only 13 percent of respondents plan to shop in physical stores this Black Friday, down from 17 percent in 2012. This is part of a four-year downward trend, where consumers report a declining interest in Black Friday shopping.

Four-Year Trend: Consumers Who Do Not Plan On Shopping On Black Friday This Year

Year Percent
2010 80%
2011 82%
2012 82%
2013 85%
Source: Nielsen.

Unlike the overall holiday shopping season, where the retail battleground includes all formats, Black Friday is a focused in-store retail event. Consumers named department stores (71%) and electronics stores (58%) as their top two choices for Black Friday holiday shopping this upcoming season. This is in line with last year, when advertisers spent $526.2 million on department store advertising across all media types in November (up 5% from 2011) and over $400 million on wireless ads (up 4%).

TOP RETAIL CHANNELS DOMINATE CONSUMER PREFERENCE OF WHERE THEY WILL BE SHOPPING ON BLACK FRIDAY

Channels Percent
Department stores 71%
Electronic stores 58%
Online 51%
Supercenters/mass merchants/discounters 48%
Source: Nielsen.

Consumer’s waning interest didn’t stop advertisers from promoting their products and deals last year. Spending on Black Friday-themed television advertising topped $11 million in 2012, five times the $2.4 million spent in 2011. In fact, Black Friday-specific ads accounted for just over 5 percent of all national TV ads shown on Black Friday in 2012, up from 2 percent in 2011 and less than 1 percent in 2008.

MANIC (CYBER) MONDAY

A whopping 88 percent of consumers said they will use their computers again this year to do their Cyber Monday shopping. Shopping via mobile devices will also be something for retailers and advertisers to look forward to this year, as 37 percent of consumers plan to use tablets and 27 percent will use their cell phones to shop this Cyber Monday. Once online, three-fourths of consumers will rely on store websites and word of mouth to get information on Cyber Monday deals, while 51 percent will turn to Cyber Monday deal sites.

WHICH OF THE FOLLOWING DO YOU PLAN TO USE TO GET INFORMATION ABOUT CYBER MONDAY SALES (TRADITIONAL AND NEW MEDIA)?

Information Source Percent
Store websites 74%
Word of mouth from friends and family 74%
Emails 68%
Cyber Monday deal sites 51%
Social media sites like Facebook or Twitter 48%
Newspapers and circulars 43%
Source: Nielsen.

BLACK FRIDAY AND CYBER MONDAY ARE MERGING

Black Friday shopping seems to be merging with Cyber Monday as many consumers say they will do their Black Friday shopping online (51%) this year. Once again, big-ticket gift items top lists this year, as shoppers seek “door-buster deals” on consumer electronics (70%) such as phones, computers, laptops, DVD players, TVs, iPads and e-readers, apparel (59%) and toys (46%) .

A LOOK BACK AT BLACK FRIDAY AND CYBER MONDAY WEB ACTIVITY IN 2012

Last year, visits to sites in the retail, consumer electronics, wireless and kids/games/toys categories all spiked on Black Friday compared to visits during the prior two weeks. When looking at the visitors to these sites on Black Friday in 2012, Nielsen found:

  • Men accounted for 39 percent of the visitors on retail sites, up from 37 percent on Black Friday in 2011.
  • Visits among consumers aged 65+ increased 7 percent from Black Friday in 2011, and their total time spent more than doubled (113%).
  • African-American consumers spent the most time, on average, browsing kids/games/toys sites (25 minutes per person).

For Cyber Monday 2012, consumer visits to retail sites were on par with Cyber Monday 2011. Visits among Hispanic and Asian consumers increased by double-digits compared to Cyber Monday 2011, up 32 percent and 19 percent, respectively. Visits among consumers aged 18-34 also rose slightly (3%). Overall, total time spent on retail sites was up among all demographic groups with the exception of males and those aged 35-49.

Visits to coupons/rewards sites on Cyber Monday 2012 were down 14 percent from the prior year, but total time spent on such sites was on par with Cyber Monday 2011. Males spent 24 percent more total time on these sites in 2012 than they did in 2011, and time spent among Asian consumers increased by 85 percent.

Cyber Monday – Year-over-Year % Change in Total Minutes

From home and work computers in the U.S.

Category Retail Sites Coupons/Rewards Sites
Total 1.8% 1.6%
Female 4.4% -7.6%
Male -3.4% 24.0%
12-17 9.7% -38.7%
18-34 7.2% 1.7%
35-49 -19.8% -6.4%
50-64 20.5% 15.7%
65+ 40.0% 9.5%
African-American -5.2% -11.9%
Hispanic 18.8% -12.1%
Asian-American 45.3% 85.2%
White 0.5% -1.9%
Read as: On Cyber Monday in 2012, U.S. consumers spent 1.8 percent more total time on retail sites compared to Cyber Monday in 2011.
Source: Nielsen.

METHODOLOGY

The annual Nielsen Holiday Spending Forecast leverages consumer surveys of over 22,000 demographically representative households throughout the U.S., fielded weekly, beginning in September and is also driven by an analysis of 92 categories, covering five departments representing over $99 billion in sales (Food, Beverages, Alcohol, Health and Beauty and Homecare). The Black Friday and Cyber Monday study results are derived from a weekly survey of 1,000 U.S. respondents.

Ad spend estimates are from Nielsen’s U.S. measurement of ad spending for TV, newspapers, magazines, radio, outdoor, cinema and Internet display advertising, based mainly on published rate-cards. Internet audience figures are from Nielsen’s online panel that measures the activity of more than 200,000 Internet users across more than 30,000 sites in the U.S.