Study: How Do Millennial Shoppers Behave on Black Friday & Cyber Monday?

How Millennial Shoppers Behave on Black Friday & Cyber Monday

This year, 20% of Millennial shoppers won’t make a single holiday purchase in a brick-and-mortar store. Instead, they will likely continue escalating an unstoppable national trend toward e-buying by holiday shoppers. Dollars spent online already outpace those spent in retail stores during this Christmas shopping season.

According to the National Retail Federation, 154.4 million shoppers bought products on the Thanksgiving/Black Friday weekend in 2016. Of those, 108.5 million shopped online while 99.1 million shopped in stores.

Nearly half of Black Friday and Cyber Monday are Millennial Shoppers 

Millennial shoppers love Black Friday and Cyber Monday. 2016 Black Friday sales buried 2015 numbers by breaking the $3 billion mark for the first time. Cyber Monday raked in even more, closing just at $3.45 billion.

Millennial shoppers made up 45% of the people making purchases on those record-breaking shopping days. This number is staggering when you consider that Millennials, those who are born between 1980 and 1998, comprise only ~25% of the US population.

Increasing numbers of Millennials are flooding stores and online sellers on Thanksgiving Day, traditionally a day sacrosanct to family and food. The image of young Americans camping outside stores on Thanksgiving night to snag the hottest new gizmo or a money-saving deal is quickly vanishing. Today, Millennials are searching the web for the best deals before making a purchase. That’s why 30% of shoppers don’t show up at a store on Black Friday until 10 am. Thanks to the ubiquity of smartphones, tech-savvy shoppers can even stand inside one brick-and-mortar store and compare its prices to other stores and online retailers.

Millennials are nearly 4 times more likely to shop than Boomers 

According to the National Retail Foundation, 80% of Millennials shop on the Thanksgiving weekend. 52% of them shop in stores and 61% shop online. It may be that the holiday sales spur Millennials to buy for themselves as well as for family and friends. Researchers know that these shoppers are motivated by price far more than their parents were. They also rely on word-of-mouth recommendations and social media posts by friends.

Among Millennials, 40.7% shop online at least once a week. Fewer than one in ten Millennials, however, believes that touching or feeling a product is important before buying it. Perhaps that’s why online sales have more than three times the rate of return that in-store purchases do.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday conquered by Millennial Men 

Despite claims that shopping holidays are losing their prowess, Black Friday and Cyber Monday remain the largest shopping days of the year. Retailers know that men tend to put off holiday buying later than women do, which means Black Friday and Cyber Monday may be the first shopping day of the season for many male shoppers. Interestingly, more than 30% of American men do most or all of their holiday shopping online. It may be male shoppers, therefore, who are driving retailers to mobile eCommerce solutions.

Mobile eCommerce will soon rule them all 

An estimated 36.8% of Millennials shop using their phones. eCommerce is an accelerating trend. Globally, experts expect that eCommerce will bring in $4 trillion in 2020. In 2015, mobile shopping eclipsed desktop shopping. That means mobile isn’t just a hot new idea; it’s also the future of online retail. 125 million American consumers own a smartphone. 50 million own a tablet. Justin Smith, CEO of Outerbox, says, “If you plan on running a successful eCommerce website, or any website, you absolutely must cater to mobile users.”

Getting ready for Black Friday and Cyber Monday 

All the data on mobile eCommerce means savvy retailers are making it comfortable, easy, and fun for Millennials to shop from their phones. Effective strategies include social media, email marketing, creative landing pages, strong SEO preparation, and an easy-to-navigate online store.

Social media, cart abandonment flows, and newsletter marketing are Digital Marketing 2.0. Retailers will build emotional loyalty to their brand, announce sales, and inform customers with these tools. But it’s 2017. Welcome to Digital Marketing 3.0 – personalized marketing. By leveraging the eCommerce trends and web stats as part of your marketing, you can make marketing personal to each customer. It’s also friendly, and Millennials buy based on their friends’ recommendations.

Final thoughts

All the data says eCommerce is outpacing in-store buying. And mobile is crushing desktop as the way eCommerce happens. To stay viable, retailers must capitalize on this trend. The brands who will be well-prepared with a consistent marketing strategy and have invested in the correct marketing tools will be the ones who will take the most out of it.


Also published on Medium.


Joyce Qian

View posts by Joyce Qian
Joyce runs Growth & Strategy at ContactPigeon. On a daily basis, she ponders on different ways businesses, big and small, can grow and achieve success. Outside of work, Joyce loves reading, traveling and exploring her new found home in the ancient city of Athens.