Fresh Off The Press: What Did Consumers Do On Black Friday And Cyber Monday?

Some of you may not be aware that Forrester manages a market research online community (MROC) comprising 1,500 US online consumers recruited from our quantitative Consumer Technographics® surveys. While our Technographics surveys tell us what consumers do, the proprietary data we collect from our MROC completes the story by highlighting why consumers behave that way.

This year, Black Friday saw a record 89 million shoppers, up 3 million from 2011, according to a survey conducted by the National Retail Federation. In anticipation of this behemoth shopping day, we recently tasked our online community members with telling us anything and everything about their holiday shopping plans. This past Black Friday and Cyber Monday, we fielded a few short surveys to capture what our members were doing at that moment — what they bought, who they bought for, where they bought, and how much of their holiday shopping they accomplished.

At the end of this year, we will post a comprehensive report on our findings for the full holiday season. But to give you a small preview of what’s to come, here are a few “fresh from the field” insights that intrigued us right off the bat.

On both Black Friday and Cyber Monday, consumers primarily shop for their children and spouses. However, consumers are also shopping for themselves as well.

Tis’ better to give than to receive doesn’t hold true when discounts are involved. In her blog on holiday sales predictions, my colleague Sucharita Mulpuru shares that “more than half of US online adults are more price-conscious than they were a year ago,” and our MROC data certainly mirrors that point. Consumers are on the hunt for deals, for themselves as well as others — and the “guaranteed discount” that retailers put out there this time of year encourages this even more.