Did shoppers get what they came for this shopping holiday?

Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2021 delivered on consumers' expectations, but not their wishes

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Following the Thanksgiving holiday come the year’s biggest shopping holidays: Black Friday and Cyber Monday. With supply chain issues and inflation driving holiday shopping headlines, the breadth and depth of this year’s sales and product inventory were a big question mark for shoppers. So naturally, we took to our platform to get the goods from our audience. 

Using the DISQO CX platform, we polled 17,748 U.S. adults between Friday, November 26 and Monday, November 29. We asked them about their shopping activity related to holiday sales from Black Friday to Cyber Monday. This included method of shopping, retailers shopped, instance of out-of-stock products, perceptions of discounts and product categories where they saw the best deals. The results are nationally representative and were weighted to reflect the US online population by age, gender, and income.

How do shoppers grade this year’s deals? “Meets expectations”

More than half of adults (52%) said discounts were in line with what they had expected, 25% said discounts were not as good as they had expected, and 23% said discounts were better than expected. Shoppers found the best deals on products within the categories of Technology and Electronics (42%), Apparel and Accessories (33%), Toys (21%), Beauty and Personal Care (17%), Home and Furniture (15%) and Fitness Equipment (6%).


Just under half of shoppers felt the supply chain crunch while shopping sales

Wondering if news and buzz about product shortages is hype or legit? A whopping 46% of shoppers said items they planned to purchase were out of stock. It’s safe to say gift-givers learned that the struggle is real.

Even with disrupted gifting plans, shoppers proved nimble, pursuing other gift options on the spot. About 25% purchased a comparable item, 18% skipped buying the gift, 16% purchased a different item altogether, and 8% decided to give a gift card or cash instead. 

Not all shoppers are as flexible with 20% planning to wait for the item to become available again. Whether these products will become available ahead of the holidays is anyone’s guess.

Online shopping and the globe’s number one online shopping destination dominate 

About 65% of adults shopped holiday sales at some point from Black Friday to Cyber Monday. The digital shopping cart got the most mileage with about 58% of adults saying they shopped online only, 28% shopped both online and in-store and 14% shopped in-store only.

When asked about popular retailers shopped, Amazon was the big winner with 66% followed by Walmart with 46%, Target with 36%, Best Buy with 26%, Kohl’s with 19%, and Macy’s with 16%.

Looking back to the beginning of holiday shopping season

Now that we’re in the throes of the holiday shopping seasons and we have a sense of the actual shopper experience, let’s take a quick look back to earlier this month, when the gift lists were just coming together and nearly half of adults were not concerned about product shortages related to holiday shopping.

In early November, DISQO polled 38,372 American adults about their awareness of  potential product shortages, perceived impact on holiday shopping plans, course of action if an item sells out, and length of time they’ll wait for a sale. The results are nationally representative and were weighted to reflect the US online population by age, gender, and income.

Shoppers just weren’t that concerned “back then”

Nearly half (49%) of Americans were not concerned, 43% were somewhat concerned and only 8% were very concerned. At the time, only 17% of shoppers said items they planned to purchase as gifts were sold out.

Nearly 31 percent of adults indicated they were willing to sacrifice the “thrill of the sale” to guarantee their ability to purchase the in-demand gift item on their list. Given this past weekend’s out-of-stock reality, this route may have been the better bet.

All shoppers want from retailers this holiday is…

While shoppers may have been unaware of the impending impact of product shortages on gift-giving, they knew what they wanted from their go-to retailers:  communication and transparency. Nearly 34% said they would appreciate the “display of quantities remaining,” about 23% said they wanted “transparency about limited stock items in advertising” and 24% wanted “restock email/text updates.” 

Let’s see what the month of December brings for shoppers, gift recipients and retailers alike.

Do you want to learn about consumer motivation and behaviors and how they impact your business? Interested in how your brand fares in retail or anywhere else?  Start with DISQO.  We equip brands to make better business decisions based on a deep mastery of what people say and do. Our platform also allows marketers to see how their ads impact their brand and drive business outcomes. Let’s chat about how we can help make your sales ring here.

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