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.

How long do we hold off buying?

With so many discounts just around the corner, it’s common to hold off spending in the lead-up to massive sales. An estimated 117 million American adults (47.8%) have deferred dropping dollars on clothing, electronics, major appliances and furniture in anticipation 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 finder.com.
  • 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?

Gender

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

GenderPlans to spend moneyDoesn’t plan to spend money
Women46.5%53.5%
Men41.6%58.4%

Source: finder.com

Generation

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.

State

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 statusPlans to spend moneyDoesn’t plan to spend money
Divorced66.5%33.5%
Married or domestic partnership56.1%43.9%
Separated58.8%41.2%
Single, never married48.4%51.6%
Widowed73.1%26.9%

Source: finder.com

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

Are people getting the best value for their money by spending during sale time?

Sales regret

An estimate of 43.5% of people have purchased something on sale that they later regretted. The average amount spent per item was $431.

Type of sale purchases

  • The type of items that people are most likely to purchase on sale and later regret are technology/electronics (30.2%), which is 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 and fragrances at 4.3% and literature at 2.2%.
  • The average spend per sale item on technology/electronics was $285, clothing and accessories were $87 and household items was $244.

Gender

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

Generation

Millennials lead the generations in purchasing sale items they later regret. Over 1 in 2 (51.3%) Millennials, 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 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 incomeLikelihood of sales purchase regretAmount spent per purchase
$0 to $25,00039.8%$339
$25,000 to $50,00042.1%$303
$50,000 to $75,00047.4%$326
$75,000 to $100,00048.8%$568
$100,000 to $150,00044.8%$520

The psychology of sales

An estimate of 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.

Gender

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

Females spent an average of $412 on such items and males spent an average of $903.

Generation

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. 3 in 4 (76.0%) Millennials, 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.

  • We calculated these figures from a survey of 2,000 American adults commissioned by finder.com and conducted by global research provider Pureprofile in October 2017.
  • We included only states with 40+ respondents — an accurate sample size — in this analysis.
  • Monthly retail trade stats were calculated through Census Bureau’s Month Retail Trade Report.

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.

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