Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Consumers set to spend a record-breaking 5% more this Black Friday

Analysis of retail activity from referral engineering platform Mention Me suggests that consumers are expected to set a new record, spending 5% more on Black Friday this year compared to last – bringing good news for retailers trying to recover lost profits or sustain sudden revenue growth following an unpredictable 18 months. 

Mention Me anticipates brands to acquire 9% more new customers through referral on Black Friday than on the day last year  – and these customers are more likely to return and spend more than those acquired through other channels, representing significant long-term value.  

Online services grow in popularity, with recovery anticipated for travel 

The data indicates that Fashion and Health & Beauty will retain their places as the top two sales categories at Black Friday, with 2% and 5% more sales expected on the day compared to 2020. After increasing a remarkable 80% year-on-year on Black Friday 2020, sales for Home & Garden brands are expected to fall in terms of growth, while retaining volumes that outperform pre-pandemic Black Fridays. 

An up and coming category for Black Friday is online services and apps, like Music Magpie. These have been increasing in popularity each year with order volumes up 55% in 2020 compared to 2018, spurred on by people treating themselves and friends to subscription-based, online services. Mention Me expect this trend to continue in 2021 as more businesses move online and consumers become increasingly familiar with these online services.

Meanwhile, after a tough 2020, travel and hospitality is expected to recover, with Mention Me anticipating these brands to at least double their 2020 volumes in 2021.

Consumers look to friends and family for guidance on brand recommendations

The data shows that recommendations from those we trust are increasingly influential on consumer buying decisions, with brands typically acquiring 4% more new customers through referral this year compared to last, after a surge in referrals in 2020. Mention Me predicts this to rise to 9% on Black Friday this year.

Though not typically associated with Black Friday, Food and Drink brands are gaining momentum in driving sales and referrals during the event. Last year, Black Friday orders for this sector almost tripled year-on-year. With this dramatic rise in orders and referral increasingly successful as an acquisition channel, currently 29% more impactful than last year, it will be an interesting category to watch this Black Friday.

Subscription services are also seeing referral increased in importance as an acquisition channel this year, with referral anticipated to account for 4% of newly acquired customers. 

Simon Dring, head of retail insights at Mention Me said, “While uncertainty continues to linger in 2021, there’s no doubt Black Friday is going to be a big opportunity for brands this year. It’s about more than just posting big trading figures, this is a crucial moment to acquire new high-quality customers and nurture existing ones. Our data around referrals demonstrates the compounding combination of referral and big ticket days.”