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Top 3 Takeaways From Black Friday 2022

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  • Nadine Ghica & Sabrina Mullens - SUBTA
  • Dec 1, 2022
  • 5 minute read

Back in October, Insider Intelligence predicted that Black Friday 2022 e-commerce sales would break records, and they did just that. The e-commerce sector generated over $9 billion dollars in revenue and outperformed brick-and-mortar sales on the biggest shopping day of the year. However, consumers’ approach to the annual event felt different than years past.

Black Friday has traditionally been the big kickoff to the holiday season, but that single day’s importance has changed,” said SubSummit’s Director of Marketing Jennifer Cline.

Here’s what you need to know about Black Friday 2022 to finish your holiday season strong:

Fewer People Plan to Make a Holiday Purchase

Despite generating record-breaking e-commerce sales, Black Friday 2022 saw close to 7 million fewer shoppers this year compared to 2021. 

Overall, holiday shopping is not as high of a priority for consumers as it used to be, with more than 15 million individuals revealing they don’t plan on exchanging gifts in 2022, according to PYMNTS. They cite two main reasons:

  • Inflation: Close to 30% of consumers who didn’t shop on Black Friday said they didn’t have enough money.
  • Underwhelming discounts: 15% said they did not find jaw-dropping deals.

SUBTA Takeaway

There’s still time for subscriptions to make an irresistible offer ahead of Christmas and other holidays. Use consumer surveys to determine what your target audience is looking for and ask yourself these questions: 

  • Could I offer a free trial for my subscription and convert them into a long-term subscriber at a later date?
  • How can I increase the value of my offering for customers without raising the price? Maybe a mystery item?
  • Are there existing subscribers that could benefit from a free (temporary) tier upgrade?

Consumers Love Online Shopping

Online ordering outperformed traditional in-person shopping during Black Friday 2022 with 80% of shoppers opting for packages to be shipped to them, according to PYMNTS. Mobile purchases made up a significant portion of these purchases, taking nearly 45% of total revenue share from Oct. 1 through Nov. 27, according to Adobe Analytics.

In comparison, in-store pickup amounted to 25% of all shopping and curbside pickup accounted for 15% of purchases.

“The convenience of direct-to-consumer purchasing and the premium experience you get through subscriptions means customers have drastically shifted to an online focus,” said Cline.

While traffic to brick-and-mortar stores increased by under 3% this year and retailers like Walmart allegedly had low traffic, brands that invest in their e-commerce presence performed well.

For example, Walmart ranked higher than Amazon, Target, and Kohl’s in most searches for Black Friday 2022 discounts — a 386% year-over-year (YoY) increase. The retailer promoted the value of its membership offering, Walmart +, by offering exclusivity, better deals, and other valued perks throughout the holiday season.

“More customers and members are choosing us for the value and assortment we’re known for and they’re responding to the changes we’ve made to save them time,” said CEO Doug McMillon in a Seeking Alpha transcript of the company’s Q3 2022 Earnings Call. “As more people look to us for value, we want them to see that the experience of shopping with us is also compelling due to the new capabilities we develop.”

SUBTA Takeaway

Ensure your website is optimized for both mobile and desktop users. Additionally, be transparent with your shipping deadlines to deliver on a satisfactory customer experience. A third of consumers expect their gifts to be delivered within two to three days after the purchase was made. 

If you operate a digital business, think of how you can provide your customers additional value through your online offering, like bundling different products and services with their purchases.

Flexible Payment Methods Increase in Usage

Due to rising inflation, consumers are being cautious of their holiday spending. Over 70% are concerned about gifts’ prices this year, compared to 61% in 2021, according to the Electronic Transactions Association (ETA) and The Strawhecker Group (TSG).

On Black Friday 2022 alone, 10% of online shoppers were reported to use buy now, pay later (BNPL) for their purchases, according to PYMNTS, while in-store usage increased by 41% YoY. Overall, nearly 3 million more consumers leveraged digital payment options than in 2021, including BNPL, PayPal, Venmo, and even cryptocurrency.

Flexible payment options are an effective way to make up for weaker discounts, noted SubSummit 2022 speaker Kevin Chung of FedEx

SUBTA Takeaway

Give your customers peace of mind when it comes to purchasing your product and focus on how you can best support their budgets. Engage with them via email, surveys, or on social to gauge their interest in your holiday promotions, and don’t force a sale on them if they’re not ready.

Instead, leverage exit-intent popups that help you capture consumer data while freeing your prospects from a commitment they are not quite ready to make just yet.

If you build trust and foster a genuine relationship with your community, sales will follow regardless of the time of the year.

What You Can Learn From the Black Friday 2022 Trends This Holiday Season

The lessons from Black Friday 2022 can be summed up into one statement: Consumer habits are constantly evolving.

Adapting to these habits during the holidays is crucial going into the new year, as you can convert new shoppers into loyal subscribers. 

Ensure you’re being as accommodating as possible, whether that’s through optimizing your checkout experience, offering flexible payment options like BNPL, or even providing exclusive experiences like Walmart+ did for its members on Black Friday 2022.  

“Gone are the days of Thanksgiving overnighters parked outside of a retail location for a single day of buying frenzy. Black Friday will forever live in a new form,” noted Cline. “A business can have poor sales specifically on Black Friday and still benefit from the increased purchasers researching gifts for a later checkout.”

Looking for more exclusive insights and knowledge to succeed in the subscription industry? Attend the world’s largest conference dedicated to subscriptions, memberships, and recurring revenue: SubSummit!