Black Friday Facts: By the Numbers

With Black Friday just one week away, most marketers have their strategies buttoned up and their messaging at the ready. But what exactly should we be expecting from Black Friday this year, and how did the day after Thanksgiving become the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season? We decided to take a look at Black Friday by the numbers.

Black Friday by the Numbers 

1924: The start of the modern-day Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, which heralded the following day as the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season.

1966: The first time the term “Black Friday” was used on record to describe the day after Thanksgiving.

72.4 million: The number of consumers who reported shopping on Black Friday in 2015.

$299.60: The average amount spent per person over the 2015 Black Friday shopping weekend.

675,300: The number of seasonal employees hired by retailers for the 2015 Holiday season.

30%: The percentage of total retail sales that are made between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

3.6%: The percentage holiday sales are expected to increase in 2016.

6.8%: The percentage increase in online shopping since last year.

Source: National Retail Federation 

As for what those shoppers plan to buy, a recent Nielsen survey breaks down retail spend categories, showing only a slight tip of the scale as consumer interests remain stable from 2015 to 2016.


While shopping trends remain the same, the nature of the customer journey in the digital age continues to changes. The 2016 holiday shopping season will no doubt bring interesting new insights marketers can use to inform the year ahead.

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