As the cost of living continues to rise, consumers are seeking ways to stretch their budgets. According to a 2023 Black Friday consumer sentiment survey by Boston Consulting Group (BCG), 74% of consumers plan to take advantage of deals during November sales events, an increase of 7 percentage points from 2022.
The survey, which examined the spending plans of over 7,000 consumers across seven markets including Australia, Canada, Germany, Switzerland, Poland, the UK, and the US, found that US consumers plan to spend the most ($460) during Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Singles’ Day, followed by Switzerland ($390), and Germany ($385).
These are among the findings of the 2023 Black Friday consumer sentiment survey by Boston Consulting Group (BCG). The survey, which was released today, examines the spending plans of more than 7,000 consumers across seven markets (Australia, Canada, Germany, Switzerland, Poland, UK, and US).
“Black Friday is a highly anticipated part of the annual shopping calendar. As consumers feel pressure on their personal finances this year, they are more deal-focused than ever,” says Jessica Distler, a BCG Managing Director and Partner and coauthor of the study. “The challenge for retailers will be to stand out among the noise.”
Consumers Turn to November Sales for Financial Relief
In response to inflation, consumers are altering their buying habits. Over half reported cutting back on non-essential purchases in the past three months, while 49% check and compare prices more frequently, and 41% make more purchases based on deals and promotions.
Furthermore, consumers turn to November sales events not for luxury items but to meet their basic needs. While adult clothing and consumer electronics remain the most popular product categories across countries, electronics saw a significant decline compared to 2022. Additionally, 68% of consumers plan to use November sales events to purchase holiday gifts.
Consumers across all surveyed countries preferred clear discounts on all items over steep discounts on select items, free or reduced shipping deals, or bundle deals. When asked about the minimum discount that would qualify as a “good deal,” consumers expect at least a 30% discount.
A Season of Sales Events
While Black Friday and Cyber Monday remain the most recognized sales events globally, with 95% and 86% awareness, respectively, Singles’ Day is no longer just an event for Chinese calendars. It is especially gaining popularity in European markets—it’s known by 56% of Polish consumers, 41% of German consumers, and 37% of Swiss consumers.
Many consumers also begin deal hunting well in advance of the blockbuster November sales events. Over 60% of consumers surveyed said they start actively researching deals early—some as early as October. Furthermore, when they begin deal hunting, more than 70% of consumers said they don’t know exactly what brand or product to purchase—leaving retailers room to shape buying decisions.
As Julia Hohmann-Altmeier, an Associate Director in BCG’s Marketing and Sales practice, notes, “November sales events are blurring into a whole season of bargain hunting. And this year, consumers are ready and willing to shop around to get the best value for their dollar,” says Julia Hohmann-Altmeier, an Associate Director in BCG’s Marketing and Sales and a coauthor of the study. “Retailers need relevant discounts and targeted ads based on product interests and key moments if they’re going to convert shoppers during what is sure to be a highly competitive shopping season.”
Download a copy of the survey here:
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