Black Friday stats: The numbers behind the madness |

Black Friday statistics

Americans plan to spend more than $59.57 billion on Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales this year.

This year Black Friday falls on November 24, 2017. As the biggest shopping day in America, it’s sure to cause a rush with heavy discounts and one-off deals.

In fact, Americans plan to spend $59.57 billion on Black Friday and Cyber Monday purchases this year alone.

Do you regret your shopping spree? You’re not alone!

Sales regret

An estimated 43.5% of people have purchased something on sale that they later regretted.

The average amount spent per item was $431, totalling to over a whopping $46 billion of regretful discounted purchases in the past year!

Type of sale purchases

  • The types of items that people are most likely to purchase on sale and later regret are technology/electronics (30.2%), followed by clothing and accessories at 23.4% and household items at 14.7%.
  • Other categories include food/drink at 6.5%, shoes at 5.1%, music at 4.4%, cosmetics/fragrances at 4.3% and literature at 2.2%.
  • The average spend per sale item on technology/electronics was $285, clothing and accessories was $87, and household items was $244.


Even though women (44.3%) were more likely to purchase items on sale that they later regretted than men (42.7%), men were more likely to spend more per item on their regretful purchases ($526) than women ($343).


Millennials lead the generations in purchasing sale items they later regret. Over one in two Millennials (51.3%), 45.9% of Gen X and 36.0% of Baby Boomers have made sale purchases they regret.

Although when it comes to the amount spent, Millennials appear to be the most conservative generation. Millennials spent an average of $236 per sale item they regret. Baby Boomers spent $413 and Gen X spent $585.

Household income

When it comes to household income, generally those with a lower income are less likely to purchase sale items they regret, and when they do, are more likely to spend less per item compared to those with higher income.

Household income Likelihood of sales purchase regret Amount spent per purchase
$0 to $25,000 39.8% $339
$25,000 to $50,000 42.1% $303
$50,000 to $75,000 47.4% $326
$75,000 to $100,000 48.8% $568
$100,000 to $150,000 44.8% $520

The psychology of sales

Our study found that 65.2% of people have purchased an item on sale that they wouldn’t have purchased if it wasn’t on sale. The average amount spent per item was $641.


As with sale regrets, women (68.2%) have a higher likelihood of purchasing items on sale that they wouldn’t have purchased if they weren’t on sale. Men, in comparison, sit at 62.0%.

Women spent an average of $412 on such items and men spent an average of $903.


Once again, Millennials are more likely to purchase an item on sale that they wouldn’t have purchased if it wasn’t on sale, but spend less per item. Three in four Millennials (76.0%), 65.7% of Gen X and 57.5% of Baby Boomers have made such purchases.

Millennials spent an average of $499, Baby Boomers spent $677 and Gen X spent $716 per item.

How long do we hold off buying?

During the lead up to the big annual mega sales of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, it’s common to hold off spending in anticipation. An estimated 117 million American adults (47.8%) deferred dropping dollars on clothing, electronics, major appliances and furniture while waiting for the release of Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals. Better safe than sorry, right?

Of those hanging out to see the bargains, a one- to two-month wait is the most common (14.7%), followed by a few weeks (13.8%), three to six months (9.8%) and a patient seven to eleven months (3.7%). Some 5.9% of us are willing to wait an entire year!

Census Bureau monthly retail trade stats

  • Total retail sales last November was $416.1 billion, that’s a 5.0% increase from November 2015 ($396.2 billion).
  • November total retail sales have grown by $74.3 billion compared to a decade ago ($341.8 billion in November 2007 to $416.1 billion in November 2016).
  • Average growth in retail sales for November each year since 2010 (after the financial crisis) is 4.6%.
  • Projected total retail sales for November this year is estimated to be $435.3 billion, according to
  • Americans are expected to spend about $60 billion across the Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend, that’s 13.7% of the total November forecasted sales for the month.

How many of us are planning on purchasing this year?

While 117 million of us are eagerly waiting to see what’s on offer come November 24, an estimate of more than 108 million American adults (44.1%) are confident that they’ll be parting with their cash over Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales this year. But how does that translate by demographic?


A higher proportion of women intend to spend money on Black Friday sales this year (46.5%) compared with men (41.6%).

Gender Plans to spend money Doesn’t plan to spend money
Women 46.5% 53.5%
Men 41.6% 58.4%



Predictably, the younger you are, the more likely you’re going to splurge this Black Friday and Cyber Monday. This year, 61.9% of millennials plan to spend money, followed by 49.5% of Gen Xers and 27.0% of baby boomers.


Of qualifying states, Georgia came in first of those planning to spend (52.9%), followed by Wisconsin (51.2%) and Illinois (50.7%).

Household income

Interestingly, those with an annual household income of $50,000 to $75,000 intend to spend the most on upcoming sales compared with any other income bracket, while those earning between $150,000 and $300,000 top the list for least likely to spend.

Marital status

Not surprisingly, singles plan on treating themselves the most (51.6%), followed by those married or in a domestic partnership (43.9%), those separated (41.2%), divorcees (33.5%) and widows (26.9%).

Marital status Plans to spend money Doesn’t plan to spend money
Divorced 66.5% 33.5%
Married or domestic partnership 56.1% 43.9%
Separated 58.8% 41.2%
Single, never married 48.4% 51.6%
Widowed 73.1% 26.9%


How much will we spend?

On average, Americans plan to spend $550 each on Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales this year — totaling a whopping $59.57 billion!

By demographic

Spotlight on Millennials

Ask the Experts

Ana Serafin Smith

Ana Serafin Smith

Senior Director, Media Relations
National Retail Federation

Some of the trends we are seeing this season includes starting Black Friday deals as early as November 1st, special promotions online and in-store unique to those customers that like to shop on both venues or just one!, offering gift cards as an incentive to buy some of the hot items of the season to even special store hours on Thanksgiving and Black Friday for those that want to get into the stores, check off that holiday list and walk off that Turkey.

Thanksgiving weekend is officially the half way mark for the holiday shopping season. Consumers see this weekend as a cultural experience and family tradition that will continue for years to come.

Maggie Baker Psychologist

Maggie Baker

Psychologist, financial therapist and author of Crazy About Money: How Emotions Confuse Our Money Choices and What to Do About it.
President, Baker & Baker Associates

Thanksgiving is a time for gratitude AND it signals the start of the holiday gift seeking and giving.

Who doesn’t like a good deal? Anticipation of those deep price cuts and the rush to get there first heightens the excitement and increases the frenzy to GET THE DEAL, NOW! Excitement clouds this reality: even though you are getting great deals, you are still spending money. You are vulnerable to spending more in the excitement of now. Make a list of what you need or want and stick to it. Later, the bills won’t then seem like such a downer!

Jennifer McDermott

Consumer advocate helping people improve their personal finances.

Black Friday Deals

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