Mobile Menu

Tracking Black Friday consumer trends over time

black friday trends

Black Friday – a term that just a decade ago was barely known worldwide. Traditionally, it is celebrated in North America the day after Thanksgiving and is regarded as the beginning of the Christmas shopping season.

But over time, the day has grown into a week of major discounts, becoming synonymous with American-style consumerism. Now a holiday in its own right, Black Friday has developed a cult following in both the UK and the US.

Last year, the coronavirus pandemic led to a severe blow in shopper confidence, and the UK’s November lockdown meant Black Friday was an online affair. This year however looks much better for retailers, with footfall expected to increase by 80.9%. But have Black Friday consumer trends in 2021?

To find out, we gathered tweets from November 2020 and November 2021 that mentioned Black Friday, specifically from users in the UK. We then uploaded this raw social data into Relative Insight’s text analytics platform and compared both time periods.

Relative Insight comparative approach to text analysis pinpoints the linguistic features – the words, phrases, topics, grammar and emotion – that are more prevalent in one data set over another. By layering text analysis on top of social listening data, our platform functions as a social media insights tool. It reveals consumer insights you wouldn’t know to look for and uncovers how Black Friday consumer trends have changed over time.

Online shopping

In 2020, people on Twitter were 2.7x more likely to talk about online shopping in the run up to Black Friday. Consumers spoke about Amazon directly on Twitter, suggesting that over the pandemic, using Amazon had become equivalent to shopping in-person. With a diverse range of retail options at your fingertips, Amazon began to closely resemble the high street during lockdown.

insight card - online shopping


Unsurprisingly, our analysis also revealed that in 2020, consumers discussed the impact of lockdown and covid on Black Friday. However, the context of this consumer trend is interesting. What we found was that people had been saving money in lockdown and where therefore talking about spending more over Black Friday: “Lockdown and Black Friday don’t mix well… my bank account hurts”; “Trying not to spend money in lockdown + Black Friday in lockdown = spending money in lockdown”.

insight card - lockdown

2021 Black Friday consumer Trends

Home interiors

Looking at the social insights for 2021, we are able to reveal the key Black Friday consumer trends ahead of this year’s event. For instance, in our analysis we found that Twitter users are 2.7x more likely to discuss the topic of furniture and household fittings this year, suggesting there is a demand for home interior items and a particular desire for deals in this sector. Consumers spoke about needing to find tables, chairs, bedding, cots, mattresses and office furniture in the Black Friday sales, so it will be interesting to see what happens on the day and whether there will be crowds, and site crashes because people are so intent on getting their home bargains.

insight card - home interior is a black friday trend in 2021

An American celebration

Using Relative Insight as a social media insights tool, we found that UK Twitter users were 5.1x more likely to mention the fact that Black Friday is an American celebration. Some British consumers did not want to be seen as celebrating consumerism, and outright denied the holiday being a “thing” in the UK.

insight card - black friday is an American celebration


In comparison to 2020, our analysis revealed that this year people are infinitely more likely to question how sustainable Black Friday is. As an event which encourages mass consumption, people on Twitter reflected on the environmental impact of Black Friday, especially against the backdrop of COP26. Consumer preferences and behaviors are clearly evolving year on year, and this analysis proves that sustainability is becoming central to purchasing decisions.

insight card - sustainability is a new black friday trend

Too soon for advertising

Have you noticed your inbox clogging up with Black Friday promotions already? In contrast to 2020, this year people have took to Twitter to express their surprise that Black Friday advertising has started already, with one user claiming that it’s simply too soon for Black Friday emails. Comparative text analysis helps to uncover important consumer trends such as this, enabling brands to track consumer opinion and ensure they use the right Black Friday communications in the future.

insight card - too soon for advertising

As one of the most important events in the retail calendar, there is much at stake for all brands over Black Friday. Therefore, understanding Black Friday consumer trends is crucial to marketing strategies. Utilizing Relative Insight as a social media insights tool streamlines the social analysis process, saving you time and resources.

Through comparative analysis, Relative Insight can help you to spot trends, uncover consumer insights and ultimately help to drive brand strategy and innovation. Get in touch to find out more.

Analyse consumer trends over time