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72% of Black Friday Shoppers Influenced by Social Media (especially Facebook)

Sites include , . Published on November 19th, 2012. Written by Anthony West.

Black Friday has grown from a shopping discount experiment among retailers to a solid date on the American calendar for shoppers. The shopping day itself has evolved so much in the last five years that retailers have now staggered their sales as far off as 3 weeks before the actual event. Consumers don’t seem to mind this though and new research is shedding light on what the plans are among consumers for Black Friday 2012.

Lab42 surveyed 500 shoppers and a whopping 72% of them said that social media was a big part of their shopping planning this year. Many have been using social media to narrow the field between where to shop and what to buy and the data has yielded some interesting figures surrounding spending habits.

The changing face of buying habits

When asked what is typically bought on Black Friday, 46% of respondents said they usually go out and get things they’ve always wanted but normally wouldn’t buy. 42% said they typically use Black Friday to snag “great deals,” whilst only % of respondents actually bought stuff that they need. Unsurprisingly only % of respondents said they buy things they’ve never seen before.

Companies can’t try any funny stuff with in-store pricing either; a whopping 49% of respondents said they scrutinized heavily the prices and offers on a company’s Facebook page before making the trip to the store itself. This year Facebook is expected to play a crucial role in driving people through the doors of many Black Friday retailers.

Forrester estimates that a whopping $500 billion+ dollars will be spent this holiday shopping season and Black Friday is expected to take up a big chunk of that figure. Buyer sentiment is a good gauge of that of course and 23% of those surveyed said they planned to start their shopping before 3 a.m. this year.

Black Friday is changing

According to many of the people surveyed by Lab42, the deals have changed a lot over the years and the event itself has grown into something much larger than they expected. Overall 61% of respondents expressed the sentiment that Black Friday has changed. Within this subset 29% said the deals aren’t as good as years past; 55% said the event itself has become too crowded and 39% cited the growth in the length of the checkout line.

Despite these changes though, Black Friday is still one of the most popular shopping events of the year. When asked about their preference between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, 35% said they preferred the former with 33% preferring the latter. 32% of respondents liked both events on equal footing. Each preference had some interesting reasons behind them too; Black Friday lovers for instance preferred it over Cyber Monday for the excitement and adrenaline rush that comes with the event. Those that showed no preference between the two said that the deals are pretty much even between the two events.

All things considered, Black Friday 2012 should be a solid one for retailers. The only retailers that might have difficulty cashing in are those on the East Coast that were affected by Hurricane Sandy.

Are you a Black Friday or Cyber Monday shopper? Share your preference with us below.

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