Black Friday Results: Who Hit the Stores—and What Did They Buy?

Did you see plenty of crowds—and great deals—this Black Friday? Before the kick-off to the holiday shopping season arrived, the National Retail Federation estimated more than 164 million shoppers from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday.  

That was just an estimate, though. What actually happened this Black Friday? To find out, Wiser enabled its network of smartphone-enabled shoppers to provide some near-real-time data from several major brick-and-mortar retailers. 

Here are the Black Friday results. 

Who’s Who of Black Friday Shoppers 

After Black Friday ended, several reports surfaced that foot traffic was down slightly from 2017 to 2018. RetailNext reported a decrease of between 5 percent and 9 percent year-over-year. In general, some industry experts felt that in-store sales were down a small percentage, but the overall holiday shopping would be as strong as ever thanks to eCommerce.  

So then, who did show up to stores on Black Friday? According to our Wiser data, our shoppers were 56 percent male and 39 percent female. The largest demographic to shop in-store were millennials, as 37 percent of respondents were between the ages of 25-34. In close second was Gen X, with 32 percent of shoppers aged 35-44. Older adults mostly stayed home: Only 16 percent of 45-54-year-olds shopped in-store compared to 9 percent of those 55-plus. 

Black Friday shoppers were more in agreement on budget, though. Roughly 44 percent planned to spend between $100 and $500 on Black Friday, well ahead of the 28 percent who expected to spend up to $100.  

Bar graph of ages of Wiser shoppers

Target, Best Buy, or Walmart? 

We asked our shoppers to let us know their experiences across three major retailers: Target, Best Buy, and Walmart. Which retailer came out on top? 

Looking at available Black Friday deals, Best Buy was recognized by shoppers for much-improved offerings compared to 2017. For instance, 17 percent said Best Buy had “much better deals,” while 22 percent said the retailer had “better deals.” That edged out the responses for Target and Walmart. Overall, though, shoppers felt deals were comparable to last year’s Black Friday. 

Best Buy also beat out the other two retailers for longest lines at the registers, as the total people in checkout was more than 30 for Best Buy, more than Target and Walmart.  

All three retailers did well with inventory. The majority of shoppers found what they wanted in-stock. The same can be said for available deals. Between 75 percent and 88 percent of shoppers reported advertised deals were still available, depending on the retailer. Out-of-stocks were not a significant factor this Black Friday. 

Bar graph of Black Friday deal comparison YoY by retailer

What Was Sold on Black Friday? 

Black Friday shoppers had a few categories in mind when they hit the stores. Overall, categories that got a lot of attention included: 

  • Electronics 
  • Toys 
  • Home Goods 
  • Clothing 
  • Accessories 
  • Sporting Goods 

Focusing on electronics, TVs were a popular item with shoppers. Samsung TVs were the biggest brand, well ahead of LG, Vizio, Sony, and Sharp. Lego was the biggest toy brand, alongside Nintendo, Marvel, Disney, and Hasbro. Naturally, Best Buy was the place to shop for electronics, while Walmart had the best deals for toys. The best deals for clothing were reported at Target.  

Bar graph of categories with best deals by retailer

What’s Next for the Holidays? 

With Black Friday over, what comes next for the 2018 holiday shopping season? So far, it looks like another strong year despite initial reports of lagging in-store foot traffic. Online sales should be significant as well, and brands and retailers are poised to sell before the holidays.  

Want to know more? Connect with Wiser today if you need omnichannel data to increase revenue, reduce costs, and improve your marketing effectiveness for 2019. Or, read Wiser CEO Andy Ballard’s thoughts on Black Friday on TotalRetail.

Matt Ellsworth

Matt is the Sr. Manager, Marketing & Demand at Wiser, the leading provider of actionable data for better decisions.

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