How Consumers Will Shop Black Friday 2022

Greater success will be seen by retailers who consistently and frequently communicate deals, offers and incentives.
Elizabeth Christenson
Editor, Retail Leader
Elizabeth Christenson profile picture

ProTip: Black Friday has woven its way into American culture — and while the day and the holiday season in general have transformed since the start of this century, the day still carries a shopping nostalgia for many consumers. We are entering a new era in the retail industry, and while it is still to be determined how the consumer will come out on Black Friday in a post-pandemic world, the comfort and joy of holiday shopping still brighten many spirits, which may signal a return of the Friday tradition of years past. (Click here to jump to the full RL Pro Analyst Take below.)

More Americans miss the chaos of in-person Black Friday shopping, and twice as many consider it a tradition compared to consumers from the United Kingdom or Australia, according to a new study by UserTesting and conducted by OnePoll. Despite inflation, nearly one-third of U.S. consumers expect to spend more money on Black Friday and Cyber Monday in 2022 than in previous years.

The survey also revealed that: 

  • 63% of U.S. consumers consider in-store Black Friday shopping a tradition.
  • 2 in 5 Americans miss the chaos of in-person Black Friday shopping.
  • 42% said in-store Black Friday shopping holds more importance for them than it did before the pandemic.
  • 95% plan to participate in Black Friday and Cyber Monday events for 2022, with one-third planning to shop both online and in-store.
Black Friday Shopping

Black Friday is Back-ish

Retailers gave a strong promotional push in October going into the holiday season — remember Target Deal Days — which drove consumers in-store and ultimately helped to reduce inventory, according to Ethan Chernofsky, vice president of marketing at, in a webinar, titled “Unpacking Trends and Predictions for Holiday, 2023 and Beyond,” on Oct. 11. 

From a brick-and-mortar perspective, these holiday peaks could be strong again, he says. For example, if retail doesn’t experience a COVID-19-esque impact as it did in 2021, the industry can expect a more normal Black Friday. 

“Should we see a more normal environment, there is going to be a better comparison in a time where stores and retailers have a lot of stock to get rid of, which could see the return of a doorbuster mentality to bring waves of people in on those major peak days,” Chernofsky explained. “For example, we saw it already — Labor Day drove a big surge of visits — that these big retail holidays, so to speak, still have a draw, and when utilized properly, can create a lot of buzz.”

Overall, retailers can expect a more positive Black Friday and Cyber Monday compared to 2021, Chernofsky said, but he does believe that the peak of Black Friday madness is behind us.

Black Friday has historically been the busiest shopping day of the year, and although many consumers have already commenced holiday shopping, this year should be no different. 

“Coming out of the pandemic, it is clear the return to in-store shopping has been on the rise and should help fuel Black Friday traffic,” Chip West, retail and consumer behavior expert at Vericast,  told Retail Leader Pro (RL Pro). “With the growing trend of retailers now opting to close on Thanksgiving, shopping activity pushed to Black Friday should be elevated.”

With retailers starting their Black Friday sales earlier this year, Chris Lentjes's CEO of Eurora Solutions’ U.S. operations, expects retailers will likely continue to stretch out their sales to maximize orders. 

“Even with elongated sales periods, we're anticipating lower numbers for Black Friday due to the impact of softening consumer economic sentiment and available consumer spending with the increase of mortgage rates and inflation, gas, food, etc.,” Lentjes told RL Pro.

On Black Friday, toys and technology will remain hot commodities, along with beauty products that are trending on social media platforms, such as TikTok and others, Lentjes said.  

“Increasingly, consumers are becoming savvier when shopping online and looking for the best deals and coupons to maximize savings,” Lentjes said. “With expected higher in-store sales than last year based on more foot-traffic than in previous years, omnichannel sellers will have channel advantage, ready to meet the customer either online or in-store.”

As far as particular brick-and-mortar locations, malls have the opportunity to make an impact on Black Friday. Malls have been performing better than expected, especially with department and apparel stores in decline, according to tracking data from 

“Mall visits have actually outpaced what those anchor tenants have done,” Chernofsky said. “And I think a big piece of it is the experience they're providing, so this shift to more food and beverages. The shift to experiences. The nostalgia of bringing people into the mall during the holiday season.”

Black Friday Sales

As far as the importance of Black Friday promotions this year, some 34% of consumers are worried they won’t have the money they would like to spend on holiday shopping due to rising commodity prices, and 36% are concerned that the gifts they want to buy will be more expensive this year, according to a new Oracle Retail consumer research study.

a woman standing in front of a store

In turn, nearly three-quarters of consumers (71%) plan to wait for big retail sales moments. Black Friday still takes the crown with 47% of shoppers planning to participate, but not far behind are Amazon Prime Days (43%) and post-holiday sales (30%).

Consumers are committing extra time to finding the best deals and are considering payment plans to check items off their gift list. Oracle Retail’s research found: 

  • 71% of consumers said they would consider a store financing or payment plan to pay for gifts over time (25% of shoppers said they have never used one of these plans before).
  • 77% said they will shop around for more deals and discounts.
  • 71% said they would wait for big sales moments and store holiday sales from their favorite retailers.
  • 75% said they would do more price comparisons online and in stores.
  • 73% said they would look to shop at more discount stores (such as T.J. Maxx and Ross).

“With inflation and commodity prices high, the No. 1 thing on consumers’ minds as they shop this holiday season is price… so they will be out looking for deals to make their dollar stretch further,” Mike Webster, senior vice president and general manager of Oracle Retail, told RL Pro. “Black Friday still reigns supreme, with nearly half of shoppers looking to participate. This could be very lucrative and a peak for retailers to make compelling offers that consumers can’t pass up. Shoppers this year are likely looking more toward buying a few impactful gifts, such as electronics, hot toys or coveted tennis shoes, rather than a bunch of smaller items that can really add up in terms of costs.”  

Retailers also need to keep in mind how people are shopping. 

“With restrictions largely lifted, more people are headed out to physical stores,” Webster said. “In addition to Black Friday deals, in-store promotions were noted as one of the top three ways consumers find the most compelling offers and products. While a customer may come in for a Black Friday doorbuster, the right promotion could sway them to pick up a lot of other items on their gift list along the way.”

In regards to how this Black Friday will be similar/different compared to years before the COVID-19 pandemic, Webster expects that we will see few major differences than what we saw back in 2019. For starters, retailers continue to see Black Friday as an extended timeframe versus a single day. 

“Retailers, such as Macy’s, Kohl’s and Target, have already started their 2022 Black Friday deals,” Webster says, “But don’t be surprised when they sweeten the sales pot on the actual day.” 

One big change consumers may see is what is being offered. 

“Along with the great, appealing deals may come the unusual, unexpected and downright unappealing,” Webster said. “Many retailers are still grappling with excess inventory and will be looking for ways to unload it at a responsible price that gets it to move, while not completely erasing margin.”

Coupons and Black Friday 

With consumers looking to save money this holiday season, new consumer research from Vericast found that coupons are the top way holiday shoppers plan to save money this year, followed closely by holiday deal days, such as Black Friday, and redeeming cash back rewards.


Vericast data shows:

  • 56% of shoppers will search online for Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Small Business Saturday deals.
  • Meanwhile, one-third of Gen Z will look to TV ads to inform their Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Small Business Saturday shopping.
  • While over one-third of consumers (38%) plan to holiday shop earlier due to concerns about product delays and price increases, late stragglers still want deals: 13% plan to shop later to have more time to save.

“Coupons, along with price and item discounts, and other value and savings incentives, will have a huge impact on attracting holiday shoppers both in-store and online this Black Friday,” West said. “Shoppers will see more items on sale this holiday season compared with the past two years. Computers, electronics and toys are all expected to hit the deepest discounting. Shoppers are also highly interested in buy online, pick up in-store or curbside; buy now, pay later and other financing options, especially for bigger ticket items.”

Additionally, inflationary pressures this year have created a savvier, savings-driven consumer overall. 

“A greater success will be seen by retailers who have consistently and frequently communicated deals, offers and incentives throughout the season and throughout the year,” West explained. “Retailers will win when their target consumers are reached effectively via offline and online media channels that influence their purchases.”

As an ongoing trend, an omnichannel shopping approach will be leveraged among a significant number of consumers this Black Friday. 

“As retailers look to capture the spend of holiday shoppers now showing little to no brand loyalty, consumers are well aware and eagerly anticipating promotional messages across channels that will motivate them to buy,” West said. “This includes trading down or opting for an alternative.”

During most of this year, consumers have increased their deal-seeking behaviors and have sought out go-to channels, including print and digital, to look for value and savings. 

“For many shoppers, social media has become one of those channels, and will be leveraged over Black Friday and the entire holiday shopping season,” West said.

Black Friday on TikTok 

With social media usage growing, another trend to follow this year is more consumers turning to TikTok for holiday shopping ideas. According to Semrush data, Google searches for “TikTok shopping trends” have spiked at 800% from January 2021 to September 2022, showing the platform’s dominance over spending habits. Additionally, searches for “how to shop on TikTok” and “shops on TikTok” both increased by 1,300% and “TikTok seller” at 4,700%. Not surprising then, the hashtag #blackfriday2022 on TikTok has more than 3.1 million views.

Additional data from Semrush found:

  • Searches for “TikTok live shopping” increased by 966.7% month over month.
  • Black Friday searches surged globally by 264.6% year over year.
social selling

“With TikTok only continuing to gain popularity, I believe we may see a spike of online purchases for Black Friday this year,” Nicole Ponce, influencers team lead at Semrush, told RL Pro. “It seems like a lot of online businesses have already rolled out their discounts, so people have no need to wait until Black Friday and can be searching for deals now. Those businesses that are active on TikTok and targeting Gen Z shoppers, especially, are likely to see a boost.”

Ponce also expects shoppers’ use of TikTok will likely increase on Black Friday compared to last year, because of the strong awareness of deals that are happening now. 

“A lot of creators on TikTok, like @greeneggsandglam for example, base the majority of their content on sharing quick tips and current deals on things out now, and these creators are already posting their favorite sales,” Ponce explained. “Some even have items saved on their public Amazon lists from previous content, which are discounted now for Black Friday.”

But TikTok’s influence is not likely to extend to driving consumers into physical stores on Black Friday.

“Creators are helping their audience get the items they want and need from the comfort of their home without the chaos of waking up early or shopping after their Thanksgiving meals, standing in long lines and waiting for hours, all to potentially come up empty handed,” Ponce said. “Why would Black Friday shoppers do that, if someone they already follow and trust just showed them they can get the item for a significant deal now?”

Black Friday and the Supply Chain 

With last year's Black Friday sales, due to limited inventory, many items were “out of stock” or “back-ordered” online. 

“With supply chain delays still in the news, consumers will be eager to secure their items rather than wait until Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday sales,” Lentjes said. 

Higher sales discounts also may focus on goods where the retailers have excess inventory from the over-ordering whiplash effect from 2021.

 “Retailers will need to work harder to secure consumer orders due to the softening of the economy and hesitancy to discretionary spend,” Lentjes said. “While available services and speed of the supply chain have definitely improved during the last six months, inflationary costs impacting the retailer's supply chain — transportation and labor — and the consumer expectation of fast and free shipping will definitely impact the retailer.”

Elizabeth Lafontaine

RL Pro Analyst Take: 

For so many of us that work in the broader retail industry, we know that the day after Thanksgiving is our ultimate peak in a year. Black Friday has woven its way into American culture — and while the day and the holiday season in general have transformed since the start of this century, the day carries a shopping nostalgia that keeps many consumers coming back year after year. Black Friday, in many ways, was the catalyst for many impulse purchasing decisions we continue to see in retail today — the idea of: “I need to get this now because it’s trending and on sale” still resonates with shoppers. 

However, it’s easy to see how much holiday shopping has evolved during the past two decades, and even more recently within the past few years. The acceleration of e-commerce shopping, the extension of holiday deals into October, and the rise of intangible, experiential gifts have all changed how the consumer views the holidays, and more specifically, Black Friday. Many retailers walked away from the early shopping previews and doorbusters on Thanksgiving, rightfully so, and Cyber Monday has grown in importance as consumers flock to online deals and the ease of at-home delivery. 

We are in many ways entering a new era in the retail industry in the post-pandemic period, and as we’ve seen across many retail sectors, some consumer behavioral changes are elastic and others are sticky. It is still to be determined how the consumer will come out on Black Friday in a post-pandemic world, but the comfort and joy of holiday shopping still brightens many spirits as consumers head out to hunt deals, which may signal a return of the Friday we know and mostly love.