Black Friday Sees Spending Surge Despite Inflation

group of shoppers

Despite inflationary pressures and all the voices warning that this year’s Black Friday was going to be one of restraint, nearly 8.6% more consumers say they spent more during Black Friday as compared to the previous one. Similarly, online sales in the U.S. registered a record $9.8 billion, which represents an increase of 7.5% over 2022.

It seems that advertising and social media campaigns have been fairly successful in their appeal to the consumer. Per PYMNTS Intelligence research, either website ads or social media content was the most influential factors for 1 in 3 consumers making purchases on Black Friday.

According to PYMNTS Intelligence data, nearly 53% of Americans, or some 137 million consumers, made at least one purchase during the last Black Friday. This figure is pretty similar to 2022, but this year consumers spent more. On what? Mostly on clothing and accessories, toys, consumer electronics and home entertainment items, as is typical in holiday sales.

chart, consumer shopping

Among generations, millennials spent the most during Black Friday. Specifically, millennials averaged about $585, 10% more than the population average. They were also the consumers who increased spending the most compared to last year, up 22%; and the ones who plan to spend the most throughout the holiday season, about $1,850 (23% more than the average). These factors make this group the main consumer segment during the whole holiday season sales, and they plan to complete nearly half of their purchases at local merchants because of better prices and product quality.

Holiday spending will continue for a few more weeks, as trends reveal. As a PYMNTS Intelligence survey found, approximately 57% of U.S. consumers plan to make a purchase in the weeks following Black Friday and through Christmas, up 2 percentage points from last year. Furthermore, the impact of advertisements on consumers’ seasonal shopping appears to be evenly distributed across online ads, television ads and social media. This tripartite division signals a trajectory toward a more omnichannel seasonal sales experience in the near future.

The Numbers in Context

In “Black Friday 2023: Consumers Widen Their Search for Holiday Bargains,” PYMNTS Intelligence detailed how inflation shaped Black Friday shopping. The study surveyed a census-balanced panel of close to 2,700 consumers on Nov. 25 about how they spent that Friday to learn how they adapted their shopping and spending habits in the face of ongoing price increases.