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174 Million Americans Make the Biggest Black Friday Yet

Karina Masolova,

The largest, most anticipated shopping event of the year has come and gone—a week of sales centered around Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday.

Overall, the National Retail Federation (NRF) estimates that over 174 million Americans shopped during the five-day holiday weekend. On average, shoppers spent $335 on gifts and other items—for a total spend of over $58 billion. The most popular days for in-store shopping were Black Friday (77 million) and Small Business Saturday (55 million).

According to preliminary data from ShopperTrak, brick-and-mortar foot traffic was down 1.6% on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday compared to last year. One reason for the dip was the fact that many stores closed for Thanksgiving—Black Friday traffic was down less than 1% from 2016. A.T. Kearney estimates that traffic could have dipped as much as 4% over last year for the entire weekend.

The biggest spenders were older Millennials (25–34 years old) at $420, per the NPD. They were also the most likely to be multi-channel shoppers—64 million Americans in total shopped both online and in-store. This group spent more on average than online-only (58 million) and in-store-only (51 million) shoppers.

Surprisingly, teen shopping was largely concentrated on Black Friday—making it the biggest teen spending day of the year, according to Current. Teen spending was largely concentrated in malls on Friday, although they looked for deals online the night before. The average spent per teen for the day was just over $33. Clothing stores captured 44.7% of teen retail spending, followed by department stores (21.8%), cosmetics (9.9%), sporting goods (3.0%), video games (2.8%), and discount stores (2.1%). Amazon captured nearly half of all online sales—but teens largely eschewed Cyber Monday.

Per the NRF, top shopping destinations overall included department stores (43%), online retailers (42%), electronic stores (32%), clothing and accessories stores (31%) and discount stores (31%; multiple responses allowed). Shoppers spent an average of $250 (or 75% of their total spend) on gifts, with the most popular choices including clothing or accessories (58%), toys (38%), books and other media (31%), electronics (30%), and gift cards (23%; multiple responses allowed).

On the other hand, Cyber Monday and Black Friday were the two most popular days for online shopping, according to the NRF.

This Black Friday, Americans spent a record $5 billion in 24 hours, per Adobe Digital Insights. Black Friday online spending was up 16.9% from last year—with mobile alone driving $1.4 billion in online revenue. Shopify estimates that Americans spent up to $1 million per minute online on Friday.

Adobe found that Cyber Monday drove $6.6 billion worth of sales, with traffic up 11.9% from the previous year. For the first time, mobile accounted for 47.4% of visits (39.9% smartphones; 7.6% tablets) and 33.1% of revenue compared to desktop traffic. Cyber Monday top sellers included toys, video games, and streaming devices.

Outside of the U.S., the shopping holiday is gaining traction. According to a survey by One Hour Translation, Black Friday is particularly popular in Canada (26% anticipate the shopping event), Spain (22%), France (21%), the U.K. and Germany (19% each), and Australia and Japan (10% each).

In contrast, just 14.5% of Americans said they were waiting for Black Friday and 16% for Cyber Monday. On average, 17% of shoppers from these 8 countries were looking forward to Black Friday, compared to 8% for Cyber Monday and 3% for Singles Day. Only 32% were looking forward to any online shopping events—most respondents indicated a preference for in-store shopping.


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