In this blog we zoom into German consumers’ preferences and intended behavior for the upcoming Black Friday and Cyber Monday week. As we started tracking these aspects since the first half of September we now see some interesting developments mid-November.
By the first half of November, 41% of German consumers state that they will purchase on either Black Friday or Cyber Monday. And even though Black Friday is three times the size of Cyber Monday in terms of the share of consumers in Germany who intend to buy, cross-purchasing between these two events is significant as 77% of consumers who intend to purchase on Cyber Monday also intend to purchase on Black Friday. Additionally, Black Friday has a two times higher conversion rate compared to Cyber Monday: of all German consumers aware of Black Friday, 46% intend to make a purchase – and the same conversion rate for Cyber Monday is only at 24%. But on the other hand, the expected relative growth versus last year is slightly higher for Cyber Monday at +30% vs. +26% for Black Friday.
We don’t see any major increase in purchase intent during the past two months, i.e. consumers decide quite early on if they will buy on these events or not. But consumers aiming to purchase have become gradually more decisive over time in what they intend to buy. Consumers who aim to purchase on Black Friday and Cyber Monday are in the younger demographic, with the major difference being that Cyber Monday Shoppers are significantly more digital in nature and have already switched general purchase behavior from offline to online to a higher degree. The share of Heavy Shoppers (making 5 or more online purchases on a bi-weekly basis) is 22% among Cyber Monday Shoppers, and 15% among Black Friday Shoppers, well as among the German population in general.
The relative share of Black Friday and Cyber Monday Shoppers who aim to shop Electronics/Telecom is expected to double compared to ‘normal’ shopping behavior. Among intended purchasers on each of these events, 34% state they will likely buy Electronics, while the general percent of Electronics shoppers (as measured during the first half of November) was at 14%. We can also expect an amplified share of shoppers in Fashion during Black Friday (36% of intended shoppers vs. 26% in general), but during Cyber Monday the share of shoppers in Fashion is expected to be significantly lower than average at 19%. Within Fashion, we also see that the expected purchases within Fashion in Germany will be focused on versatile casual wear from regular brands.
In analyzing the development in Black Friday and Cyber Monday awareness and purchase intent rates, we only see a marginal development. During the past two months, we can conclude that consumer purchase intent has been quite stable, i.e. consumers knew early on if they were going to buy on these events or not.
During the first half of September, 77% of consumers in Germany were aware of the Black Friday sales event, and this share was at the first half of Nobember on 82%. During the same period, the share of German consumers stating that they intend to make at least one purchase on Black Friday has only grown from 36% to 38%. Awareness of Cyber Monday has grown more, from 48% to 55% of German consumers, but the purchase intent level has been stable at around 14% throughout the past two months.
In addition to Black Friday being significantly larger than Cyber Monday in attracting consumers, Black Friday also performs dramatically better in converting aware consumers to actually intending to make a purchase. Of all German consumers aware of Black Friday, 46% intend to make a purchase – and the same conversion rate for Cyber Monday is only at 24%.
But comparing vs. last year, we can expect Cyber Monday to have a slightly higher relative growth rate compared to Black Friday. According to our data, 30% of German consumers purchased on Black Friday last year vs. 38% intending to purchase this year, resulting in an expected relative growth of +26%. And since 10% purchased on Cyber Monday last year and 13% intend to do so this year, the corresponding growth rate for Cyber Monday is expected to be +30%.
Consumers who intend to buy on Black Friday and Cyber Monday are characterized by their younger age. Among consumers intending to buy on Black Friday, 58% are in the 18-44 age bracket, and the corresponding share among those intending to buy on Cyber Monday is 68%, which can be compared to the general population where the 18-44 age group comprise about 45% of German consumers. Consumers who aim to purchase on Black Friday and Cyber Monday are younger and over-represented when it comes to having kids at home, working full-time and thereby also having a generally higher disposable income.
The major difference between Black Friday and Cyber Monday Shoppers is that consumers aiming to purchase on Cyber Monday are significantly more digital in nature and make more online purchases compared to Black Friday Shoppers.
Looking at overall online shopping behavior, the share of Heavy Shoppers (i.e. normally making 5 or more online purchases on a bi-weekly basis) is 22% among Cyber Monday Shoppers – compared to 15% among those intending to purchase on Black Friday as well as among the German population in general. In addition, we also see that of total consumer expenditure across physical stores and online, Cyber Monday Shoppers currently spend 50% online. And the corresponding share among Black Friday Shoppers is 44%. What specifically attracts Cyber Monday Shoppers’ to online channels is the large selection of products as well as the convenience that online shopping offers.
During the first half of November, 38% of German consumers state they will make at least one purchase on Black Friday, 13% say they intend to buy on Cyber Monday and 10% state they will purchase on both events. It is evident that these two events dominate pre-Christmas shopping, as a total of 41% of German consumers intend to purchase items on at least one of the events.
Even though purchase intent has not increased significantly during the past two months working up to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, consumers who intend to purchase have gradually become more decisive in what they intend to buy. During the first half of September, 46% of consumers who intend to purchase on either Black Friday and/or Cyber Monday have already planned what they would buy. By the first half of November, this share grows to 56%. Looking at this data from the other perspective, 44% of all German consumers who intend to buy on Black Friday and/or Cyber Monday are still in ‘planning mode’. As this consitutes a relatively large market segment, there are opportunities here for merchants to capitalize on.
Well, those intending to buy on Black Friday and/or Cyber Monday are, as we have concluded, concentrated to a younger demographic. Splitting these based on who have planned what they will buy vs. those that have not does not create any new key target to pursue. This is because the difference is quite small - the group who has deciced what they will buy is slightly younger and therefore also are a bit more digital. It is not surprising that online channels attract this segment more: online is not only more convenient, it also offers a wider selection of products and it is much more enjoyable. From a merchant perspective, these consumers also have a higher demand on flexibility, both from a speed of delivery perspective as well as a offering flexible returns.
Digging deeper into our data, we see no evidence suggesting that consumers who have planned what to purchase on Black Friday and/or Cyber Monday are (more) driven by a risk perspective. I.e. purchasing Christmas gifts early to eliminate the risk of logistics failing and/or to eliminate risk that products might go out of stock.
Due to the significant overlap between consumers who intend to purchase on Black Friday amd Cyber Monday, and in order to understand which categories consumers aim for on the respective sales events, we singeled out consumers who aim to shop on Black Friday – but not on Cyber Monday and vice versa.
In line with German consumers’ (early) decisions to purchase during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, they also know quite early the general aim they had for their expected Fashion purchases. That is to say, the preference shares related to casual/formal wear, brands etc have been very stable during the past two months of consumer tracking.
When it comes to types of Fashion, 62% of German consumers who intend to purchase Fashion during Black Friday and/or Cyber Monday intend to buy mostly casual wear. 10% intend to buy mostly formal wear and the remaining 28% of intended Fashion shoppers say they will aim for both casual and formal wear. Interestingly in Germany, the more you generally buy in Fashion, the higher your focus on casual wear is (and less on formal wear).
Among the German shoppers intending to buy Fashion during Black Friday and/or Cyber Monday, the vast majority (87%) state they will aim for general wear (for everyday wear, for at home, for at the office and/or for sports and the gym). And 37% of intended Fashion shoppers state they will buy ‘for a specific occasion’. Of consumers who intend to buy Fashion for a specific occasion, most will shop 'for Christmas', ‘for a formal event/party' and ‘for a party’. In Germany – and also in the Netherlands - we see that as a consumer purchases more in Fashion, the less Fashion items they intend to buy for specific occasions. Want to know more about online Fashion purchases? Read our blog post about Dutch, German and Norwegian consumers’ shopping behavior in the biggest product category of all.
Stay tuned for an outlook on Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the Netherlands and Norway.