Marshal Cohen

Marshal Cohen
Chief retail industry advisor

Juli Lennett

Juli Lennett
Toys industry advisor

Kristen Classi Zummo

Kristen Classi-Zummo
Fashion apparel industry analyst

Larissa Jensen

Larissa Jensen
Beauty industry advisor

Beth Goldstein

Beth Goldstein
Fashion footwear and accessories industry analyst

Joe Derochowski

Joe Derochowski
Home and home-improvement industry advisor

Paul Gagnon
Consumer technology industry advisor

Matt Powell

Matt Powell
Senior sports industry advisor

Black Friday 2022 delivered more U.S. store traffic than seen in the past couple of years during the pandemic, but what did that traffic mean for retail? Coming off of early-season October promotions and five weeks of negative year-over-year sales results, NPD’s industry experts were out in stores once again on Black Friday this year, taking a deeper look at the day’s retail activity. Here are some of the common themes that rose to the top of their observations of this year’s “big” holiday retail moment:

  • Leisurely start leading to mid-day activity — similar to that of a busy weekend
  • Door busters lost their luster after early promotion activity 
  • Social shopping, with groups of younger consumers browsing
  • Signs of spending among those who came out to stores
  • Well-stocked shelves and aisles
  • Absence of new “hot” product offerings was apparent
  • Deep discounts were the draw

Read on to see some of their industry-specific insights around the highly anticipated holiday shopping event:

“Black Friday was busy, but it didn’t have that classic Black Friday feeling. The morning bustle and hunt for hot new items was missing. Malls had moderate traffic, while outlets were overflowing. This was likely a decent start to the back-half of the 2022 holiday shopping season, but it remains to be seen what comprehensive sales results reveal about actual spending. Not to mention the question of Cyber Monday and the week’s ability to capture a consumer who has grown weary of ongoing promotions and more interested in shopping as a social gathering.”
– Marshal Cohen, chief retail industry advisor

“Parking lots appeared less crowded on Black Friday than over the previous weekend when consumers were shopping for their turkeys and pie, and toy sections looked more like a busy weekend. With few exceptions, many of this year’s hot-selling toys could be found, although availability varied by retailer. Despite lackluster crowds, people were taking advantage of the big toy promotions and buying on Black Friday, but they did seem more cognizant of prices overall.” 
– Juli Lennett, toys industry advisor

“Black Friday was a mixed bag for apparel retail. Must-have brands and retailers had traffic, regardless of the promotions being offered. For department stores, online and in-store promotional offerings were inconsistent and occasionally, confusing. One standout observation was the high turnout of Gen Z. Younger consumers flooded the mall, treating Black Friday as a social event. They came early, they came with friends, and they came to shop.”
– Kristen Classi-Zummo, fashion apparel industry analyst

“I remain optimistic about holiday for beauty, even if Black Friday felt like a letdown. Consumers showed up, though later in the day. Stores were well stocked, ready for the official kick-off of the holiday season. And I observed a lot of spending overall, which is a bright sign for beauty – the ultimate little luxury for consumers to indulge in and gift to others.” 
– Larissa Jensen, beauty industry advisor

“In one of the prime New York City shopping areas, traffic was back, much heavier than a typical weekend shopping day in recent years. While NYC isn’t necessarily representative of what is going on across the country, the crowd and tourist activity did say something about the consumer’s willingness to spend (and travel) this holiday. Long checkout lines, busy footwear specialty stores, and lots of shopping bags. Footwear and luggage captured more attention than fashion accessories in department stores, despite some outlet-like discounting. In-store, consumers were responding to both sparkle and fluff – the extremes of head-to-toe party looks and products to curl up with at home.”
– Beth Goldstein, fashion footwear and accessories industry analyst

“There were promotions across home and across categories, including some shockingly low prices at opening price points. However, there was more differentiation between retailers this year. Rather than similar products being promoted everywhere, each retailer seemed to pick a feature category, be it air fryers, cookware, floor care, or personal care.”
– Joe Derochowski, home and home-improvement industry advisor

“Two kinds of early sales seemed to have an impact on who felt the need to be at the store when doors opened – those that started in early October, and those that started earlier in the week –acting to smooth demand at both a macro calendar level, and at a micro daily level. While some of the best bargains were seemingly sold out early, there were plenty of other choices stacked in aisles and open areas of the store, especially TVs, and video game consoles! TV prices below $500 seemed to resonate with consumers, but deeper discounts may still be needed to adjust inventory.” 
– Paul Gagnon, consumer technology industry advisor

“Black Friday has become increasingly less important to sports retail. Given the high levels of inventory, and lack of hot new sports items, promotions at brick-and-mortar retail were tepid. However, online promotions were shockingly deep, which will be difficult for brands to offset come next holiday.” 
– Matt Powell, senior sports industry advisor

Get insights straight to your inbox