Discount days in unprecedented times

Black Friday Survey 2020

Social distancing rules mean we will be spared those unseemly images of consumer crowds fighting their way through shop doors, but what does Black Friday 2020 have in store? A new PwC survey uncovers consumer sentiment and some food for thought for retailers in this busiest of shopping months.

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Black Friday Survey 2020

The holiday season is upon us and the busiest shopping period should commence but will this be the case in a tumultuous year? Find out what 2,000+ consumers are considering in our #BlackFriday 2020 report.

Less is more

This year’s health crisis seems to have less of an impact on anticipated shopping on Black Friday (and by extension the holiday season in general) than may have been expected. We observe a decline, from 64% in 2019 to 57% today, in the number of people interested. The most pronounced declines are seen among the 55+ age group with a decrease of 11% and among households with annual income below EUR 20,000 annually with a decrease of 9%.

Higher average spend expected

Even before the onset of the pandemic, retailers were already constantly vying for consumer attention. The socioeconomic ramifications appear to be having both a negative (due to the economic uncertainty it engenders) and a positive impact on Black Friday/Christmas spending. The more people are compelled to stay at home, the higher their bank balances. While 44% of people expect to spend less this year – citing the coronavirus outbreak.

Pandemic-induced shifts

Efforts to contain the pandemic have caused shifts in lifestyle, which influences how and where consumers are spending and what they are spending their money on. 

Some 40% of survey respondents indicated an intention to shop more online due to COVID-19, with more women (44%) opting for the comforts of home compared to men (33%). The 18-34 age group leans even more towards online, with 50% going virtual. Overall, the share of in-store shopping is expected to drop from 35% to 24% compared to Black Friday 2019 as the pandemic further increases the number of consumers shopping thru online channels to 76% (65% in 2019).  

Books, DIY products, and streaming subscriptions have all grown in popularity, especially among higher age groups, with clothing, shoes and accessories being among the main losers in this shift.

Pandemic-induced shifts

Future-proofing in a virtual world

Many shoppers already know what they intend to buy on Black Friday, with around 50% researching their potential purchases on dedicated deal websites and 30% looking out for specific advertising on websites. Traditional flyers appear to have little influence on younger age groups, with 45% of 55+ mentioning using them for their research compared to just 28% of the 18-34 category. To get a piece of the action independent retailers should future-proof their online market approach. This may include a more proactive approach in targeting consumers online and partner with other online advertisers and/or ultra-efficient platforms such as and Amazon.

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Milo Hartendorf

Milo Hartendorf

Consumer Markets Industry Leader, PwC Netherlands

Tel: +31 (0)62 299 15 98