As previously reported, “Black Friday” has been more of a concept than a specific day for a while now, but along with a series of rapid changes within retail resulting from the pandemic, gone are the days of turkey-fueled determination in the entrance to Walmart at 5:00 AM.

The shopping season of 2019 may have looked as if interest in both Black Friday and Cyber Monday were trending up, but data collected this year shows that isn’t the case.

CivicScience data predict a substantially smaller crowd shopping on Black Friday this year, a difference of 29% since 2019. And despite the remote nature of online shopping, sister-sale day Cyber Monday will likely see less traffic as well (19% decrease from 2019).

The pandemic is not the only factor contributing to a smaller turnout for post-Thanksgiving sales. General lack of enthusiasm has likely been building for some time. A recent survey shows 88% of U.S. adults who usually shop sales around Thanksgiving aren’t attached to the actual day of Black Friday at all.

For all intents and purposes though, there will be people shopping after Thanksgiving. Those who say they will shop on Black Friday have likely already taken advantage of early sales and have plans to do so before the actual day arrives. Those who don’t plan to shop on the actual day of Black Friday are seeking early sales at a significantly lower rate. Seventy-two percent of non-Black-Friday shoppers say they also don’t plan on shopping early.

When compared to Cyber Monday shoppers and non-shoppers, the results are very similar. Although, less Cyber Monday shoppers than Black Friday shoppers plan on getting ahead some of those pre-holiday promotions.

Women are two percentage points ahead of men in likelihood to shop on Black Friday but four percentage points ahead in likelihood to shop on Cyber Monday this year. Black Friday is also more of a young person’s game while Cyber Monday is led by Millennials.

Small Business Saturday

Is anyone thinking about small businesses? The answer is yes, a quarter of U.S. adults will intentionally do all or some of their holiday shopping at a small business before a big brand store this year. Considering the past few weeks of early sales, it’s unlikely Small Business Saturday (the day after Black Friday) will look any different than last Saturday or the following.

But near-equal amounts of Black Friday and Cyber Monday shoppers will prioritize small businesses this holiday. 

People who say the pandemic is making them spend less are the most likely patrons of small businesses this season while the inverse is true for people spending more. People who say the pandemic has made them spend more are the most likely patrons of big brand stores for their holiday shopping.

Overall, we expect post-Thanksgiving sale days to come and go without much excitement. This is mostly due to the overall decline in Black Friday madness, but also because of the massive amounts of early deals for consumers combined with consumers’ general hesitancy to spend money.