The Colling Media market research team conducted a national Snapshot Study to understand when consumers plan to make purchases during the 2021 holiday season. The survey, conducted November 17, 2021, surveyed 500 adults 18+ from throughout the United States. The purpose of the study was to reveal the timing of purchases, how the different demographics will make purchases, and what percentage of the purchase will be in-person and online.
Top-level findings of the Colling Media 2021 Black Friday, Cyber Monday Snapshot Survey:
34% of adults plan to shop in person on Black Friday
51.7% of young adults (18-30) intend to shop in-person on Black Friday
18% of seniors intend to shop in-person on Black Friday
33% of parents with children under 18 intend to shop in person on Black Friday
91% of adults say they intend to buy some of their Holiday gifts online
20% of adults under 45 intend to do the majority of their holiday shopping on Cyber Monday
9% of adults over 45 intend to do the majority of their holiday shopping on Cyber Monday
Overall, 34% of adults plan to shop in person on Black Friday. Adults from 30-60 match that trend. A majority (51.7%) of young adults (18-30) intend to shop in-person on Black Friday, and a very small minority (18%) of seniors intend to shop in-person on Black Friday. This might point to an interesting COVID trend in that mom & dad might shop in-person (33% of them – in line with the overall average), their children are likely to shop in-person, and the grandparents are very unlikely to shop in-person. This relationship correlates to COVID case fatality rates.
20% of adults under 45 intend to do the majority of their holiday shopping on Cyber Monday compared to 9% of adults over 45.
On the surface, this seems to indicate a solid correlation between age and digital purchases, however, deeper analysis suggests a different answer. Overall, 91% of adults say they will make some of their purchases online, indicating that online shopping is prevalent across all age demographics. In order to understand why the younger groups are so much more likely to make their purchases on Cyber Monday, we have to look at “Special” shopping days.
If you group Black Friday and Cyber Monday into “Special” shopping days, you see a strong trend towards younger adults shopping on “Special” days and older adults shopping at other times. This is an interesting finding that does not align with other trends, particularly those with clear COVID correlations. This points to an overall trend where enthusiasm for treating shopping for Holiday gifts like an event tends to diminish as consumers age.
91% of adults say they intend to buy some of their Holiday gifts online. The only age group below that mark is adults over 60, and they still come in very high at 85%. Overall, online shopping has taken root and is prevalent across all age groups.
75% of adults say they intend to buy some of their Holiday gifts in-person. The only age group below that mark is (again) adults over 60, which is at 66%. The highest group is the 18-30 group at 82%. This feels like a COVID effect since it shows the youngest group wanting to go out and the oldest group wanting to stay in, meanwhile from 30-60 we see a trend where younger people (30-45) are less likely to go out (73%) than the next oldest group (45-60 @ 78%). Basically, the older you are the more likely you are to shop in-person compared to online, except at the extremes, which might be a response to COVID risk (in the 60+ group) and COVID lockdown (in the 18-30 group)
“We see clear trends toward online shopping, which have only accelerated in recent years, that show an interesting contrast with obvious COVID impacts,” said Colling Media CEO Brian Colling. “It will be exciting to see which of these trends, if any, reverse course as consumers adapt in the years to come.”