How did consumers respond to ads last year on Black Friday? And how can you top it?
Jun 2, 2023

How did consumers respond to ads last year on Black Friday? And how can you top it?

Does the name Black Friday ring any bell for you? Does it trigger your thirst for shopping?

Black Friday 2020 was the biggest one ever, and this was during a time when stores were closed. But how big was it? Well …

  • 65% of shoppers would rather do their shoppings online.
  • 42% of shoppings in 2020 was done through smart devices.
  • 39% of consumers checked deals through the emails they received.

When we hear Black Friday, we immediately think of extreme discounts, crazy crowds fighting over products, long queues – you name it.

Black Friday used to be the shopping holiday that triggered everyone to rush to stores. But since the pandemic, it has changed to a new normal.

People didn’t have to fight over goods at the store anymore, shopping online became more convenient and popular, and since the grand opening of the world again – it hasn’t changed. Quite the opposite to be honest.

How Black Friday started?

Black Friday happens the Friday after the American holiday Thanksgiving. On this day retailers slash their prices and offer discounts to draw people to the stores. ‘Why?’ you ask. Historically, after an intense holiday like Thanksgiving, people would want to chill at home and enjoy some quiet time. So the stores needed reasons for their customers to leave the comfy cozy corner and get out into the crowds and shop.

Over the years, Black Friday turned into a competition between retailers, to see who could drive more people into their stores. Some even started early on the day of Thanksgiving and opened their doors and each year more days were added.

How Covid influenced Black Friday last year

Since Covid, shopping, in general, had a different meaning. In-person shopping wasn’t a thing anymore. The new normal had retailers think of new ways to create enough excitement for people that could move the offline in-store traffic to online traffic. Retailers turned into e-commerce businesses and they extended their online sales campaigns for multiple days, to give their customers enough time to really embrace the new normal for Black Friday shopping.

Even though Black Friday was different in 2020 compared to previous years, purchase history was made. Retailers hit a record with more than $7.4 billion from online sales in the US in 2019. However, these numbers increased to $9 billion for the US and to $62.2 billion for worldwide online shopping in 2020.

People’s shopping habits shifted from in-store to online shopping and online media, and it became more popular than ever. A digitalization of businesses that normally should have taken years, happened in just a mere few months, and online shopping increased by 59% in 2020 compared to the previous year.

The pandemic changed consumer shopping behavior forever, and now retailers need to build their online presence and launch their once physical stores into the online sphere, turning them into real e-commerce businesses.

Of course, people would still want to go out and be social and enjoy a shopping trip with their family and friends. But they also tasted the convenience of shopping whatever, whenever, and wherever with one click from their sofa.

What to expect this year

Clearly, retailers can expect more in-person shopping this year compared to last year’s lockdown. People missed going to stores throughout the pandemic, they missed social experiences. Especially when it comes to holiday shopping, people would love to get into that spirit to shop for their loved ones, to touch the products, and to enjoy the new face of the city in person rather than behind a screen.

But that being said – it’s not going to be the same as pre-pandemic.

The pandemic had a huge impact on the way all consumers of all ages shop. According to PYMNTS, millennials had the highest spending on Black Friday 2019 at an average of $509.50. But online shopping is not only for young consumers anymore.

The demographic – especially age-wise has changed and an older generation has now experienced the convenience of online shopping and tasted the joy of avoiding the crowds and just sitting at home and pressing a few buttons until they have the items they need.

This deeper and more broad demographic of online shoppers means that you have to reconsider your targeting to nail your Black Friday campaigns and get your Black Friday marketing on point.

But don’t worry – we got you!

Let’s go through some marketing approaches that can help you with your Black Friday strategy.

  • Email marketing

According to Campaign Monitor Research, 116.5 million emails are sent on Black Friday. Which also proved a huge impact on Black Friday. Apparently, Black Friday’s emails have the highest number of opens and click rates.

  • Cart Abandonment emails

When it comes to the email open rates across all industries it is roughly 18%.  But Black Friday statistics show the email open rate is 34% and the click rate is at 9%. Cart abandonment emails on Black Friday get almost twice as much attention.

  • Targeted Black Friday emails

It is so crucial to segment your Black Friday emails. Studies show targeted emails get higher open rates compared to non-targeted ones. Some ideas that can help you are segmenting according to website visits, geographical areas, previous purchases or amount spent, and such.

  • SMS marketing

To succeed in a campaign you don’t need to think of the most complex approach. SMS marketing has been so underrated. However, it has a 2000 percent ROI during Black Friday. Not to forget the open rate is crazily at 98%. What else do you want?

As we know, there would still be some restrictions due to Covid in some parts of the world. Therefore, it’s not too far from reality to say retailers may have to deal with some of the same challenges and people would still face some limits for in-person shopping.

Not to forget Covid variants raise some concerns across the world, although that might not influence the Black Friday success in 2021. Since people got used to connecting with brands through social media, not showing up to the storefront wouldn’t change the sales rate.

How to get more traffic

As we all know, social media is one of the most effective ways to interact with customers. In fact, according to research, 60% of the time people click on promotional campaigns of any brands they’re interested in during the holiday season incl. Black Friday.

That means that brands with an active online presence outperform the ones without.

Building your online reputation is a must in today’s world. Since last year, many brands started to present themselves online and created a new platform to enhance their reach with their audience – and the truth is that it will stay that way.

Here are some statistics from previous years that shows why you should work on your online presence:

  • In 2019, 142.2 million people shopped online on Black Friday in the US alone. (Source: National Retail Federation)
  • In 2020, it was predicted that 65% of shoppers would do online shopping instead of in-store. (Source: Brightedge)
  • Around 42% of online shopping was done from smartphones in 2020. (Source: Adobe)
  • To find deals and promotions, 39% of consumers used emails received by retailers, and 38% used online search. (Source: National Retail Federation)
  • 75% of shoppers used mobile devices to search and compare products. (Source: National Retail Federation)

Customers are not necessarily forced to go out and search for every single item in person. They can easily look everything up, gather a list and then go pick it up at the store or have them delivered. Faster decision-making, personalized ads, handpicked items, and not wasting time staying in a long queue are customers’ main focus now.

This is where a Customer Data Platform, like the one from  can help you personalize your products according to your targeted customers’ needs and desires. Where you are able to offer the right products, to the right customers and at the right time.

Social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram allow you to create a good online presence and gain reach for your brand. Many companies are presenting their products on social media rather than an e-commerce site. Even TikTok has incorporated a shopping feature allowing their statistically younger user demographic to shop in-app.

You can invest in your Black Friday ad and give your customers both options of online and in-store shopping.

Book a demo today and see personalization in action