Black Friday is well-known among consumers of all ages in many countries outside of the U.S., including Germany, Italy, Spain, Denmark, and Sweden (almost 100% recognition), according to a recent study by consulting firm Simon-Kucher & Partners. But the shopping holiday is less recognized in some countries, especially in Asia; in Japan, only 54% of respondents have heard of Black Friday. While Cyber Monday is nearly as recognizable as Black Friday in the U.S. (recognized by 95% of consumers), it too is catching on in countries such as Germany, where more than 80% of consumers are familiar with the online shopping day. In countries such as Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Turkey, and the U.S., 80% of respondents plan to use the day for shopping.
The study revealed that a high level of awareness does not necessarily translate to a high likelihood of shopping. In Latin America, the awareness of Black Friday is 96%, but only about a third of the respondents intend to shop on the day.
Regional differences also apply to budget. In the U.S., consumers are planning an average budget of more than $250 on Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping. German and Danish consumers plan to spend even more—an average of 242 euros (or $268 dollars) in Germany and an average of 286 euros (or $316 dollars) in Denmark. The biggest spenders this season seem to be consumers from the U.A.E., with an average planned budget of more than $750 dollars (due in part to higher prices in the region). These amounts across all countries pale in comparison to Singles Day in Asia, where 2019 smashed records to generate more than $38B in volume (or more than Amazon’s entire Q3 online sales).
“Understanding consumers’ awareness levels of shopping events is essential for retailers in these countries and should definitely be taken into account when planning the year-round promotional strategy,” says Hubert Paul, director at Simon-Kucher.
This is crucial in markets such as the U.S. and Germany, where Black Friday and Cyber Monday are similarly well-established but differ in their respective reasons and decisiveness for shopping. In the electronics category, for example, almost half of German consumers often already know which product they want to buy, but in the US, less than 25% of consumers are looking for specific products. In fact, in electronics, apparel, and other key categories, a majority of U.S. consumers still like to be inspired before making purchases.
“Consumers, regardless of country, wait all year to take advantage of these deals. An important part of revenues on Black Friday and Cyber Monday are not just additional sales, but targeted and planned purchases,” explains Paul. “To avoid endangering the profitability of the entire year, a differentiated view for the different categories is absolutely necessary. Retailers should then adjust accordingly in each market, taking advantage of local nuances to drive traffic to their stores (and sites) and entice shoppers to buy more once they are there.”