Black Friday in the Post-Epidemic Era, Beauty is Still the Backbone

Although the epidemic restrictions have been lifted, the former Black Friday business boom has not yet returned.

This year was a long-awaited Black Friday shopping holiday without the restrictions of the epidemic, but the global economic downturn and cost-of-living crisis affected this year’s Black Friday sales. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) said in its medium-term economic forecast released on September 26 this year that global economic growth is expected to remain at 3.0% this year, but will slow further to 2.2% in 2023, down from the previous estimate of 2.8%.

According to the data of Boston Consulting Group, the pressure of rising cost of living has led to a decline in consumer confidence and reduced consumer spending during the discount sales period in 2022. For example, British consumers cut 18%, French and German consumers planned to reduce spending by 15%, and Spanish consumers planned to reduce spending by 13%. In the survey of nine countries, only American consumers said they expected to increase spending this year, with spending increasing by 6%.

In the economic downturn, what changes are coming to Black Friday?

Black Friday hit by the epidemic

Black Friday has always been one of the most valued promotional holidays for U.S. businesses, but the arrival of the epidemic has affected its trend.

In 2020, the epidemic has yet to affect U.S. consumers’ willingness to spend on Black Friday, but it has also prompted more consumers to consider an online shopping lifestyle. Adobe found that consumer spending on smartphones grew 25.3% year-over-year to $3.6 billion, accounting for 40% of total e-commerce spending. Adobe said this makes Black Friday 2020 the second largest online spending day in U.S. history.

In 2021, the impact of the epidemic on Black Friday spending begins to be felt. According to Sensormatic Solutions, Black Friday retail store traffic is down 28.3 percent compared to levels before the outbreak (2019). In addition, online sales for Black Friday in 2021 were just $8.9 billion. It marked the first time ever that growth reversed from the prior year, Adobe said.

In this year, Black Friday online sales rose 2.3% year-over-year to a record $9.12 billion. Previously, Adobe predicted that Black Friday sales would rise by only 1%. But compared with the double-digit growth before the epidemic, the entire Black Friday growth trend was as if the pause button was pressed to stop in place.

Features of 2022 Black Friday

Starting in 2021, retailers are increasing their promotions and starting their Black Friday sales earlier. According to a survey from the National Retail Federation, the retail industry’s leading trade group, 61% of consumers had already started purchasing holiday gifts before Thanksgiving.

In 2022, many retailers are starting holiday sales in early fall. Retail giant Target kicked off its Deal Days promotion with early Black Friday deals. E-commerce giant Amazon launched a new membership promotion on Oct. 11. Retail giants such as Walmart, Macy’s, and Best Buy also launched their promotions in quick succession.

According to Adobe’s data, the highest increases were in electronics, innovative home technology, toys, and fitness equipment sales. Online sales of electronics soared 221 percent on Black Friday compared to the October 2022 average, with top sellers including Apple’s Macbook and Watch.

In addition, Adobe’s data shows that the proportion of online sales with cell phone shopping on Black Friday has been increasing, reaching 48%. However, Adobe believes that traditional brick-and-mortar shopping is still expected to account for the majority of holiday sale spending. Adobe also expects Cyber Monday online sales are expected to exceed those of Black Friday, reaching $11.2 billion.

Beauty continues to appeal to Black Friday shoppers

According to Salesforce, shopping cart abandonment rates also dropped 5% worldwide during Cyber week compared to the previous three weeks, likely because consumers were attracted to the larger discounts. The top discount categories globally were General Apparel (34%), Makeup and Skincare (32%), the higher discounts reduced consumers’ spending and increased their willingness to buy.

According to retail technology company Bluecore, beauty retailers saw a 26% year-over-year increase in website traffic on Black Friday, which was 97% higher than the average daily traffic in 2022. Beauty attracted more consumer attention on Black Friday than other categories.

(Credit: Bluecore)

According to Bluecore, 50% of Black Friday beauty orders came from fifth-time buyers, and Apparel was the second most loyal group of shoppers, with 32% being fifth-time buyers. Bluecore’s analysis of this says that during inflation, consumers are more likely to buy brands they trust and are familiar with, with beauty consumers being the most loyal.

(Credit: Bluecore)

Online financial services provider Klarna surveyed consumers who purchased beauty products on Black Friday. 22% of consumers purchased beauty products for gift-giving purposes, while 28% said they purchased them for themselves. This means that Black Friday beauty shoppers were about equally split between personal purchases and gift-giving needs.

(Credit: Klarna)

Although the impact of the epidemic on Black Friday is still ongoing and it will take some time to return to 2019 levels, it is clear that consumer demand for beauty is still strong. In a sense, cosmetics are still the “must-buy” items for consumers during the holidays.



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