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October 24th, 2017

7 Black Friday 2017 Insights: What Shoppers Bought – and Didn’t Buy – in 2016

Gravy Analytics is a partner to Neustar in the mobile location data space, enhancing our DMP solution’s AdAdvisor Audience and Data Directory. Gravy’s differentiator is their unparalleled event database, which integrates unique audience insights into the Neustar DMP. This data is scalable, cross-device, and tied to real consumers.


It may still be sunny and warm outside, but the holidays are just around the corner. Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, ushers in the start of the holiday shopping season. It’s the day when many retailers finally turn a profit. Every year, we hear about eager shoppers lining up at midnight to nab a deep discount on a big screen TV or this year’s hottest toy.

How accurate are these truisms? What are consumers doing – or not doing – in the days leading up to Black Friday and during the following weeks? Gravy Analytics took a deep dive into consumer behavior observed during the 2016 shopping season to answer these questions and predict what we might see this year:

1. Shopping activity will most likely slow in early November, but consumers will start getting into the holiday spirit during the week leading up to Black Friday. Shoppers are ready to get a head start on their holiday shopping and are standing by to take advantage of early deals.


2. Which categories see the biggest bump in foot traffic during Black Friday week? Not surprisingly, Christmas markets top the list with a whopping 167% increase in consumer attendances. Foot traffic is also expected to more than double at shopping and outlet malls across the country. Department stores, apparel retailers, gift shops and toy stores are also expected to see major boosts with consumer foot traffic gains between 30-82%.

3. Among the many brands that saw increased visits during Black Friday week, nine store brands saw foot traffic more than double. Charlotte Russe, Armani Exchange and Jos. A. Bank all saw week-over-week increases of more than 200%, with Athleta and GAP Outlet boasting increases of 411% and 479%, respectively. Will these brands lead the pack again this year?

4. Mall staples can get a bump of nearly 40% from holiday shoppers. Stores like Jamba Juice, Orange Julius, and Cinnabon all saw a halo effect from higher mall traffic during Black Friday week in 2016.

5. Yet, not all categories benefit from Black Friday and early holiday shopping. Jewelry and liquor stores don’t see substantive lift in foot traffic until mid-December. Proof-positive that jewelry and liquor – while popular gift items – are also last-minute purchases.

6. Event participation changes as Black Friday approaches, as well. Consumer attendances at music events decline throughout the fall, then plummet during the week leading up to Black Friday. Music attendances saw a 41% week-over-week drop going into Black Friday, while live shows saw a 68% drop.

7. Meanwhile, the number of food & drink-related event attendances skyrocket over the Thanksgiving/Black Friday weekend.  It seems that many consumers avoid food and drink events for several weeks prior as they prepare to feast.

With holiday shopping starting earlier in the week, what does Black Friday really signify? The onset of holiday events season. In 2016, attendances at holiday events quadrupled beginning the week after Thanksgiving and didn’t slow down until after Christmas.

Curious to learn more about Gravy Analytics and the insights that consumer behavioral data can provide? Contact Gravy today at info@gravyanalytics.com or Neustar at AdAdvisor@team.neustar

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