With the rising cost of living continuing to pinch household budgets, 74% of consumers say they intend to take advantage of deals during November sales events this year—an increase of seven percentage points versus 2022, a Boston Consulting Group (BCG) survey has revealed.

The research examines the spending plans of more than 7,000 consumers across seven markets – Australia, Canada, Germany, Switzerland, Poland, UK, and US. It found that US consumers plan to spend the most ($460), followed by Switzerland ($390), and Germany ($385) over the course of this Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Singles’ Day.

What’s more, according to the 2023 Black Friday consumer sentiment survey, average spend is expected to exceed 2022—in some countries, by as much as 22%.

This record consumer spending, while partially driven by year-over-year inflation, also reflects a growing focus on deal hunting as consumers shift December holiday shopping to November to benefit from bargains.

“Black Friday is a highly anticipated part of the annual shopping calendar. As consumers feel pressure on their personal finances this year, they are more deal-focused than ever. The challenge for retailers will be to stand out among the noise,” said Jessica Distler, a BCG Managing Director and Partner and coauthor of the study.

Changing buying habits

In response to inflation, consumers are also changing their buying habits. More than 50% reported that they have cut back on non-essential purchases in the past three months, 49% check and compare prices more frequently, and 41% buy more based on deals and promotions.

In a continuation of these trends, consumers are turning to November sales events less for high-end items and more to cover their basic needs. While adult clothing and consumer electronics were the most favored product categories across countries, electronics experienced a strong decline compared with 2022. In addition, 68% of consumers said they intend to take advantage of November sales events to bag holiday gifts.

Across every country surveyed, consumers said that—more than a steep discount on select items, free/reduced shipping deals, or bundle deals—their preferred type of deal was a clear discount on all items. When asked about the minimum discount that would qualify for a “good deal,” consumers said they expect at least 30% off.

Singles Day gains popularity in Europe

While Black Friday and Cyber Monday remain the most recognized sales events globally, with 95% and 86% awareness, respectively, Singles’ Day is seemingly popularity in European markets. It is now known by 56% of Polish consumers, 41% of German consumers, and 37% of Swiss consumers, the report said.

Many consumers also begin deal hunting well in advance of the blockbuster November sales events. Over 60% of consumers surveyed said they start actively researching deals early. Furthermore, when they begin deal hunting, more than 70% of consumers said they don’t know exactly what brand or product to purchaseleaving retailers room to shape buying decisions.

“November sales events are blurring into a whole season of bargain hunting. And this year, consumers are ready and willing to shop around to get the best value for their dollar,” said Julia Hohmann-Altmeier, an Associate Director in BCG’s Marketing and Sales practice and a coauthor of the study.

“Retailers need relevant discounts and targeted ads based on product interests and key moments if they’re going to convert shoppers during what is sure to be a highly competitive shopping season,” she added.

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