NPD Reports on 'The Anatomy of Black Friday 2009'

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For the first time U.S. Consumers Speak out about their Black Friday Experience

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No longer is Black Friday a single day phenomenon, with retailers promoting Black Friday-type sales both before and after the actual day. And consumers have spread out their shopping over the course of the season, both in stores and online.

The NPD Group, Inc., a leading market research company, released the results of its first ever Black Friday study. The Anatomy of Black Friday 2009 takes an in-depth look at U.S. consumers’ Black Friday shopping.

Black Friday has become an important part of the holiday shopping season , and as part of understanding the Anatomy of Black Friday 2009 , NPD asked consumers what brought them out to shop this Black Friday. The number one answer was ‘…an item I wanted was advertised on sale, with 35 percent.

Which of the following best describe the reasons

you went shopping on Friday, November 27?     

I saw an item I wanted advertised on sale - 35%

I was just curious to see what was out there - 20%

I saw that a particular retailer was having a big sale -22%

I wanted to compare prices and deals - 18%

Black Friday Doorbusters were too good to pass up - 19%

Source: The NPD Group, Inc. /Anatomy of Black Friday 2009

As a single motivating factor, how important were the Doorbuster specials on Black Friday? Thirty-six percent of shoppers reported that they went out looking for those Doorbusters, and 35 percent reported actually buying a Doorbuster item.

“This shows the power of the Doorbuster,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst, The NPD Group Inc. “Those consumers that went out to get deals, found them and purchased them. I think we will see retailers continuing to offer them throughout the holiday season.”

Who exactly are those Doorbuster shoppers? The survey’s results indicate that women were in the majority with 38 percent; men made up 32 percent of the doorbuster shoppers. However, among the 25-to-34-year-old age group 54 percent said they were out shopping those early specials. The least likely Doorbuster shoppers were the 45-to-54-year-old age group, checking in at 28 percent.

Most consumers shopped and purchased at Mass Merchants. National Chains and Electronics Specialty Stores were number two and three respectively.

To view a table of the types of retailers consumers shopped this Black Friday click here: .

“The consumer is looking for value and one-stop-shopping,” noted Cohen. “With the highest percentage of consumers telling us they not only shopped but purchased in Mass Merchant retailers we can see just how well they have been able to convert shoppers into purchasers. I think that it will be a good year for the more traditional holiday gifts, like the sweater. Consumers seem to be reaching out to their old holiday favorites as they try to figure out what to give as gifts this year,” observed Cohen.

The most often stated reason consumers gave for why they actually made a purchase this Black Friday was they were ‘worried they wouldn’t find an item again,’ with 44 percent; followed by ‘great sale’ (41 percent); ‘not likely to be a lower price’ (32 percent); ‘was exactly what someone else wanted’ (30 percent); ‘just wanted to be done’ (16 percent).

“These results suggest that the fact that consumers have concerns about leaner inventories as well as concerns about not being able to find lower prices are prompting early purchases,” said Cohen

Survey respondents were asked what items they purchased during their Black Friday shopping trips. The early leader was electronics* with 49 percent of consumers saying they purchased some kind of an electronics item on Black Friday. Apparel was number two with 43 percent and in third was movies with 27 percent.

“Electronics continue to be the early bright spot with consumers, for gifting as well as self purchasing. Add in the thrill of hunting for bargains, and we have a winning combination.” said Cohen

One of the least asked questions is perhaps one of the most important and that is why consumers DIDN”T buy this Black Friday. ‘No Money’ was cited as the number one reason.

Top 5 Answers to "Why They Didn't Buy”    

No Money - 27%

Not Shopping Yet - 25%

Couldn't Find What I Wanted - 23%

Sales Not Good Enough - 16%

Out of Stock - 8%

Lines Too Long - 10%

Source: The NPD Group, Inc. /Anatomy of Black Friday 2009

“The big question for those saying they had ‘no money’ is will they find some and spend it on holiday?” asked Cohen, “The rest of the answers are an additional indication of the fact that consumers are planning to shop later this year then in prior years.”

“No longer is Black Friday a single day phenomenon, with retailers promoting Black Friday-type sales both before and after the actual day. And consumers have spread out their shopping over the course of the season, both in stores and online,” said Cohen.

*Electronics includes: (TVs, Home Theater Systems/DVD Players/Recorders, Home Audio Products, Satellite Radio, GPS Systems, Cell Phones, Desktop/Laptop Computers, Computer Peripherals, Digital & Video Cameras, and MP3 Players)

Methodology: The Anatomy of Black Friday 2009 was an online survey of a nationally representative sample of almost 1,700 U.S. consumers ages 18+ assessing what they did on Black Friday and why. Questions included whether, when and where they shopped, as well as what they purchased. Consumers also provided forward-looking insights into their holiday shopping expectations over the next several weeks.

About The NPD Group, Inc.

The NPD Group is the leading provider of reliable and comprehensive consumer and retail information for a wide range of industries. Today, more than 1,700 manufacturers, retailers, and service companies rely on NPD to help them drive critical business decisions at the global, national, and local market levels. NPD helps our clients to identify new business opportunities and guide product development, marketing, sales, merchandising, and other functions. Information is available for the following industry sectors: automotive, beauty, commercial technology, consumer technology, entertainment, fashion, food and beverage, foodservice, home, office supplies, software, sports, toys, and wireless. For more information, contact us , visit, or follow us Twitter at and


Beth Boyle

The NPD Group, Inc.


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