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Why Black Friday 2022 will be like no other

Rich Towey
November 16, 2022
6 mins

Online retail is revving its engine for this year’s sales bonanza: Black Friday 2022.

Since its inception in 2005, Black Friday has routinely been the busiest day in the retail calendar. Revenue generated from the final weekend in the peak period has rarely failed to increase. But that’s just about the only common element carrying over to Black Friday 2022.

Scheduled for November 25, this year’s edition is under intense pressure to succeed. Some brands believe it could “make or break” a year that’s brought inflation, recessions, and months after months of declining sales.

Black Friday 2022 will be unique, but not every ‘first’ will bring negative news. Here are some of the special events we’ll be looking out for.

Black Friday 2022 won’t break records (probably…)

Last year, Black Friday online sales in the US generated $8.9 billion. However, this marked a 1.3% drop compared to 2020, owed partly to supply-chain issues and the lingering impact of the pandemic.

Will Black Friday 2022 bring a return to form? On the one hand, some analysts are unwilling to predict growth in the face of a gloomy outlook for the global economy. In the UK, the impact of a looming recession led to a 2% drop in retail sales during the three months to September 2022 compared with the previous three months.

On the other hand, there’s a genuine sense that consumers are holding fire until they can get the best deal. A recent study seemed to confirm as much, outlining that 66% of UK shoppers are waiting until Black Friday before making their purchases.

There’s also the factor of retailers having more products compared to 2021. Last year, Adobe reported a 169% increase in out-of-stock messages vs. pre-pandemic levels. Now they have the stock; there will be more pressure to shift old lines to make way for new products in 2023.

All we know is that in 2022, perhaps more than ever, there is pressure. Retailers will be looking to Black Friday 2022 to deliver a positive impact on sales. Meanwhile, consumers will want to make sure they take advantage of deals and get the best price possible on things they need.

More retailers going earlier

Black Friday in summer? It might not be too long before it happens. Amazon launched its Prime Day (actually two days) in July – so it can’t be long before others follow suit in an attempt to stimulate sales.

We expect Black Friday 2022 to bring the earliest promotions on record as healthier stocks lead to a much more extended sales period.

Primarily, retailers are moving earlier to break through the noise. However, running an early sale also makes sense when meeting consumers at the right time. Since 2020, Google has advised brands to prepare for at least ten weeks of searches related to Black Friday deals.

With the likes of Amazon and Target already running Black Friday 2022 sales on their sites, we don’t expect the rest of the pack to be far behind.

A record BNPL Black Friday

One area where we can expect to see records is the use of buy now pay later (BNPL).

Research points to one-fifth of Gen Z planning to use services like Klarna to fund their Black Friday purchases. This is up 10% from last year and understandable given the pressures on people’s finances.

Last year, many organizations recorded a surge in BNPL usage over Black Friday, Cyber Week, and Cyber Monday compared to 2020. As a result, it’s become a key area of preparation for brands, evidenced by Klarna seeing a 59% increase in retail clients over 2022.

Younger audiences are the most frequent users of BNPL. Most millennials (54%) have used these services in the past, with Gen Z close behind (50%).

Interestingly, RevLifter’s Pete James recently highlighted the case of a retailer that saw a decline in return rates after turning off BNPL. Research from IMRG shows one in every three shoppers returning what they buy on Black Friday. On that basis, maybe BNPL could fuel a false economy during Black Friday 2022.

Regardless of how retailers feel about it, BNPL is firmly cemented into public consciousness. That, combined with financial pressure, will see many more customers delaying their payments until a more suitable time.

The World Cup factor

In a first (and likely last) ever, Black Friday 2022 takes place during a World Cup.

Figures from previous tournaments should undoubtedly be a positive sign for online retailers. For example, in 2018, eCommerce spending rose by 10.7% year on year during Q2 while the tournament took place.  

Black Friday 2022 will see a major game taking place, with England facing the USA on November 25. On Cyber Monday (November 28), Portugal take on Uruguay and favorites Brazil play Switzerland.

Will some more casual fans use breaks in play to find a deal? Talking on RevLifter’s recent virtual panel, Paul Stewart from affiliate network Awin didn’t see a strong link between soccer and sales.

“My guess is that maybe too much has been made of it. While people probably won’t be purchasing in the middle of the England vs. USA game occurring on Black Friday, I’m pretty sure the numbers will be somewhat similar at the end of the day. It’ll just skew the hour-by-hour numbers.”

Still, as Paul adds, there could be opportunities for retailers with tricks up their sleeves.

“I think it will be interesting because it presents some new marketing opportunities. You have in-game ads. You’re going to have to maybe think about what happens if England are winning versus what happens if England are losing.

“All these things present exciting cases where you can get creative about what you’re doing with marketing. You could capture some additional value over the period versus those trying to do the same thing last year.”

Want to peak during peak?

RevLifter helps brands intelligently serve offers during events like Black Friday to optimize their results.

Incentivizing customers on a case-by-case rather than a one-size-fits-all helps you focus on profitable outcomes. You can also ensure total relevance with what you recommend, leading to higher conversion rates and order values.

Get in touch for a demo to see how brands like Laithwaites and Mobiles.co.uk used RevLifter to nail Q4.