Re-examining Our Image of the Black Friday Shopper

12.02.2011 by

Several years ago, we defined the prototypical shopper as a woman with a family, two and a half children and a dog, living in suburban house with a minivan. On Black Friday, we pictured the holiday shopper lugging bags from eleven stores, smiling while she struggled to carry all her purchases. This year, we saw her as an aggressive and brutal beast, trampling other Wal-Mart shoppers and fighting for $2 waffle makers. While we might find amusement – and sometimes horror – at the exaggerated images shown on the nightly news, we know better. Let’s really examine today’s Black Friday Shopper.

She, (because 62% of purchase decisions are made by a woman - NPD), started holiday shopping on Black Friday (52% of Americans did, according to ComScore). She did not complete her shopping on Friday and used work time on Monday to shop online (28% percent did, up 33% from last year according to NPD).

She is within reach of her mobile device 75% of the time, often taking it to bed and the bathroom. According to IBM, her favorite mobile device is the iPad, and she’s more than twice as likely to use a mobile device to research retailers this year (10.8% vs 3.8% last year). At the same time, she is three times more likely to actually complete a purchase through her mobile device this year (6.6% vs 2.3%). Her favorite activity on her mobile device is to research gifts and prices while still in the store.

While online, she watches mobile videos on Google (according to IBM’s Coremetics data). She most likely viewed advertising videos on Hulu, and has opted in to receiving retailer-based emails weekly. She is connected to brands on Facebook (80% are), and she has more friends her age than younger or older than she is. Although, according to IBM, less than 1% of purchases were directly inspired by a referral from social media (0.56% of sales on Black Friday), 86% of all social media referrals came from Facebook.

We think today’s Black Friday Shopper is very different from what we saw on ABC and NBC News. She is a smart, mobile-savvy, well-researched consumer who seeks value based on real information and the opinions of the people and brands that she trusts.

Just a thought – Happy Holidays!