Black Friday is less than two weeks away, which means online retail sales are already live. While the concept of “Black Friday” has turned into a season of pre-Thanksgiving shopping, this year more consumers want to get offline and into stores on special sale days.

According to CivicScience polling, 25% of consumers intend to shop on Black Friday this year, which is slightly lower than last year’s intended shopping. In fact, overall intended shopping from Black Friday to Cyber Monday is down this year.

However, more consumers plan to shop in stores for Black Friday deals (35%), up from 30% last year and 24% in 2021, making in-store shopping nearly as popular as online shopping (41%). This is a big deal considering online shopping has well outpaced in-store shopping on Black Friday for the past several years.

Twenty percent of the Gen Pop indicate they have already taken advantage of early Black Friday deals and another 24% intend to do so. The data show that this year’s pre-Thanksgiving shopping season has taken off.

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Gen Z Leads Holiday Shopping Momentum

Gen Z is the most likely age group to be shopping on any of the major Thanksgiving holiday shopping days this year – including the actual day of Thanksgiving. Black Friday is still the most popular day, with nearly half of the generation intending to shop on Black Friday. And while Gen Z has led the in-store shopping trend in the past, more than two-thirds (67%) of the age group intend to shop in stores on Black Friday this year. This is in line with other Gen Z holiday shopping trends, such as being the most likely to shop for gifts at malls.

Gen Z also gets the prize for largest percentage cashing in on early Black Friday deals, though almost tied with Millennials.

Black Friday is Largely for Gifts

While all sorts of products get marked down on Black Friday, even items not typically given as gifts, 66% of shoppers say their Black Friday goal is gifts, while 24% say half of their shopping will be for gifts and half for non-gift items. Preparing for the upcoming winter holidays is clearly top of mind for consumers shopping over the Thanksgiving weekend.

With the focus on gift-giving and in-store shopping, where will consumers head on the day of sales? Department stores like JCPenney, T.J. Maxx, and Macy’s are very favorable among Black Friday shoppers. With the variety of products offered and the general appeal to most ages and incomes, these stores are likely to be very popular on the day of Black Friday. Singular brand stores such as J.Crew, Express, or American Eagle might be less popular considering favorability among Black Friday shoppers is under 40%. Barnes & Noble sets its own tone by being extremely popular among Black Friday shoppers.

Pre-Thanksgiving shopping is getting everyone in the holiday spirit. Gen Z leads the shopping trends this year with the greatest enthusiasm for in-store shopping, particularly on Black Friday. 

Are you a retailer looking for more insights on the 2023 holiday season and beyond? Learn more about how the CivicScience InsightStore can help you stay ahead of the curve.

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