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New Data Shows How Consumers Really Feel about Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2021

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are right around the corner – A weekend shopping event that can make or break the year for many brands.  

According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), spending this holiday season has the potential to break previous records. It recently forecasted that holiday sales will grow between 8.5% and 10.5% over 2020 to between $843.4 billion and $859 billion.   

This is compared to $777.3 billion and an average increase of 4.4% over the past five yearsOverall, the holiday shopping season is looking positive.   

But how do shoppers feel about Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2021? Are they looking forward to returning to stores with friends and families to get the best deals on gifts? And how do loyalty programs play into the picture? 

To find out, we surveyed 1,000 U.S. consumers in early November. Here’s what they said. 

Most Consumers Aren’t Thrilled to Shop in Stores on Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Our survey found that 70% of consumers plan to do at least some of their holiday shopping over Black Friday/Cyber Monday. And 32% plan to do all or most of it. 

But where are they planning to shop?  

It turns out that consumers aren’t that excited to shop in stores this year. Eighty-three percent of consumers say they’ll shop mostly or only online.  

When asked what excites them the least about shopping on Black Friday/Cyber Monday this year, 64% of consumers said it’s arriving to stores early or before opening as to not miss out on limited-time offers. Forty percent said it’s returning to physical stores after the COVID-19 shutdown and 22% said it’s shopping in stores with family and friends. 

This is something for retailers to consider going forward as they plan for in-store sales and timed events. While this shopping holiday has traditionally been a social event for people to get out of the house after Thanksgiving, that may change going forward. 

Consumers Are Most Excited to Shop Online for Discounts on Black Friday and Cyber Monday

When shoppers were asked what excites them the most about Black Friday/Cyber Monday, the results largely pointed at one thing: Discounts. 

Sixty-seven percent of shoppers said that saving significant money on holiday purchases was most exciting. And 52% said it was shopping special deals online. 

This adds up considering that 63% of consumers have purchased or planned to make most of their Black Friday/Cyber Monday purchases on Amazon, towering over Walmart (14%), Best Buy (6%), and Target (6%). 

When it comes to the types of products consumers will purchase this year, consumer electronics topped the list (46%) followed by children’s entertainment (35%), house goods (29%), luxury clothing (23%), and beauty & cosmetics (21%). 

But not every brand is Amazon and not every brand is selling commodity goods. Are there ways to acquire and retain customers during a shopping holiday where people are shopping online and looking for the best deals? 


Loyalty Programs Will Play a Role in Where People Do Their Holiday Shopping

More than half (52%) of consumers say they’re more likely to do their Black Friday/Cyber Monday shopping at retailers where they’re a member of their loyalty program. 

And according to our recent 2021 Holiday Shopping survey, 77% of loyalty program members will spend more with those retailers this holiday season. That survey also found that consumers value product discounts, expedited shipping, and better return policies the most from loyalty programs during the holiday shopping season.  

Black Friday/Cyber Monday is the perfect time to bring your customers into your program. Nearly half (49%) of consumers would provide the necessary information during the checkout process to join a loyalty program with the intention of remaining for the long term.  

Eighty percent of consumers are more likely to sign up for a retailer’s loyalty program during the holiday season if it means they will earn additional discounts throughout the year. And 43% of consumers said they’d probably pay to join a loyalty program that offers members special access to hard-to-find gifts like PS5’s and early access to Black Friday sales.  

If you already have a loyalty program in place, think about ways to save your members time and money while adding in more convenience. And if you don’t have a program, or your existing program needs a revamp, make that a priority heading into the new year. 

It’s Already Time to Think About 2022 Holiday Shopping

While the 2021 holiday shopping season is already here, this data uncovers some valuable insights around where consumer behavior is heading. 

One thing is for sure. This is the perfect time to acquire new loyalty program members and engage them throughout the year. While most shoppers are looking for discounts, the experience you show your loyalty members throughout the year has a huge impact on the brands they want to engage with around the holidays. 

Shoppers have limitless choices when it comes to the brands they choose.  

If you’re interested in talking more about customer engagement and how to make them choose you, reach out to us anytime.   


Survey Methodology: Clarus Commerce surveyed 1,094 U.S. consumers 18 and older in early November 2021.   

Paul Wolfer

Paul is our Senior Manager, B2B Marketing. He works closely with the leadership team on strategic positioning, messaging and branding. When he's not posting on LinkedIn or working on the newest data study, he can usually be found adventuring to breweries or attempting to learn a new song on his guitar.

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ebbo™ is an all-in-one loyalty company. With our data driven strategy, full-service approach, and the unwavering support of the people behind the platform, our dedicated team will work with you to understand your loyalty goals, innovate solutions and help you build customer engagement on repeat.

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