Black Friday 2014: Holiday Retail Trends at a Glance

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We’ve started an annual trend here at Lab42. Every November, we run a study to try to get inside the consumer mindset when it comes to holiday spending, and more specifically, Black Friday. This year, we surveyed 500 Americans who are planning on shopping for the holidays to see what they had to say.

One of the most interesting statistics that we found demonstrates a growing pushback to stores opening early on Thanksgiving. 70% of consumers felt that stores should remain closed on Thanksgiving, up from 60% in 2012 and 68% in 2013. Many shoppers are also banking on the idea that Black Friday is not the best day to shop, with over half (53%) of respondents saying that they believe Black Friday deals will be available at another date.

Black Friday shoppers are definitely early-risers, with 26% planning on starting their shopping between midnight and 3am. Fifteen percent of Black Friday shoppers will shop between 3am and 6am, and 20 percent are planning on starting between 6am and noon. The remaining 16 percent don’t plan to get an early start on shopping, saying that they are planning to start after noon. 23% of shoppers will start on Thanksgiving Day.

When picking their favorites between Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Small Business Saturday, 51% chose Black Friday, 37% selected Cyber Monday, and the remaining 12% chose Small Business Saturday as their favorite shopping holiday.

The study found that consumers are more likely to shop for themselves on Cyber Monday compared to Black Friday. 20% of Cyber Monday shoppers claim that they are shopping mostly for themselves, while only 13% of Black Friday shoppers are shopping mostly for themselves.

Traditional media is critical in getting the word out about Black Friday deals. When asked what the best way for retailers to communicate Black Friday deals, the top 3 answers were 1) TV commercials (28%), 2) social media, and 3) newspaper coupons and inserts (20%).

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The study also uncovered the following key findings:

  • 74% of Black Friday shoppers purchase things on Black Friday that they want but wouldn’t normally get, while 24% said that they only purchase things that they need. The remaining 2% said that they buy things they’ve never seen before.
  • 30% of those who do not shop on Black Friday skip it because they feel the same deals will be available online. 15% think retailers will run better deals closer to the holidays.
  • 38% think retailers should open at 6am or later on Black Friday
  • Most Cyber Monday shoppers plan to shop at home (72%) while 28% plan to shop while at work.


This Lab42 survey was fielded among 500 Americans aged 18+ who are planning to purchase gifts this holiday season. The survey was conducted November 3 – 4, 2014. 

Mobile Pay on the Move

When we first heard that Apple was going to jump into mobile payments, we knew big things were about to happen. Even though mobile payments have been around for a while now, Apple seems to have a way with driving adoption of new technologies in pretty big ways. For this reason, the team at Lab42 wanted to capture consumer insights before Apple Pay officially launched to the public and people started adopting mobile payments at higher volumes. We surveyed 500 cell phone owners and found that 45 percent of consumers with non-iOS devices would be willing to switch to an iOS device solely for access to Apple Pay. The top four benefits of Apple Pay, according to the respondents, were security, not worrying about losing credit or debit cards, not having to carry physical cards in their wallet, and simple setup.


Consumers are ready to try out Apple Pay. Fifty-four percent of all respondents would consider using Apple Pay, while the remaining forty-six percent were evenly split between those who were unsure about trying it and those who would not consider trying Apple Pay (each at 23%).

The study also revealed the general sentiment of consumers’ perceptions towards mobile payments. Nearly a third of respondents (30%) said they would be willing to switch banks in order to have access to mobile payments. This statistic, in addition to the willingness of consumers to switch mobile devices for access to mobile payments, is indicative of a major shift in thinking and behavior when it comes to payments.

The study also showed that consumers still harbored concerns about mobile payments. Sixty percent of respondents were concerned that their credit card information could get stolen while using mobile payments, 55 percent were worried that their smartphone could get stolen, and 42 percent were concerned about their inability to use mobile payments if their smartphone’s battery died.

The study also uncovered the following findings:

  • Sixty-three percent of respondents had heard of Google Wallet, and among that group, 32 percent had tried it.
  • The top three locations consumers would like to use mobile payments are: 1) Grocery stores, 2) Retail stores, 3) Gas stations
  • Thirty-five percent of respondents are planning to start using mobile payments within the next six months.

Learn more about Lab42 and our methodology by checking out our website.

5 Things to Consider Before Hiring a Celebrity Endorser


Whenever we turn on the TV, listen to the radio or even check our social media feeds, we see celebrities endorsing products. Setting your brand apart from competitors is consistently a challenge as companies and brands try to gain exposure within the marketplace. One option is to collaborate with a celebrity endorser. Below are some tips to help pick the right celebrity:

1. Know Your Brand’s Identity

Always concentrate on what your brand stands for when thinking of potential endorsers. It will not generate sales and revenue to have a celebrity conflicting with your identity just to capitalize on a current “it” person. If you are unsure of your brand’s identity with consumers, conduct initial research to see what consumers associate with your brand. In this age of social media, having a celebrity endorser who is ‘off brand’ could potentially hurt your company’s identity.

2. Focus on Your Consumer

Concentrate not only on your target market but also other markets you are hoping to reach. Find a single celebrity who is not only well known but also viewed highly favorably by the vast majority of each of these groups. Also remember, when focusing on consumers, you are trying to reach not only those who want your brand or product but also those who are likely to buy your brand or product, which can be two different segments.

3. Differ from Competitors

As with other marketing tactics, you want to stand apart from competitors. If your major competitor is using a reality star, avoid that route while still choosing a celebrity representing the characteristics you need. Narrow your search by finding the top 5-8 celebrities you think would be a good fit for the brand and conduct research to see who your market would most identify with.

4. Analyze Potential Risk

Calculate costs and decide if the investment is worth the potential sales in the long run. If there is any doubt, choose an alternative marketing campaign. Consider the celebrity’s personal life or decisions because any press could affect the success of your endorsement. Include a morality clause to remove yourself from the partnership should his/her image change. Lastly, think of the celebrity’s longevity to avoid having to keep finding new endorsers, which will become confusing for your audience.

5. Conduct Research

Before, during and after the campaign, conduct research with your target market and potential markets to see progress and changes that need to be made. By doing so, you can determine the associations of your brand, recognition of the celebrity and campaign, and likelihood to use and recommend your product.

Follow these steps and you will be well on your way to determining if a celebrity endorser is right for your brand or campaign.

A Look at Consumer Perception of Corporate Social Responsibility

According to our recent study on consumer perception of corporate social responsibility, 80 percent of Americans think companies should strive to be more socially responsible. However, many respondents in the study feel that companies are showing signs of improvement, with 57 percent saying that companies are more socially responsible today than they were three years ago.

Further demonstrating the importance of social responsibility, 84 percent of respondents in the study said they are willing to pay more for goods and services from companies that demonstrate social responsibility. Check out our infographic below, and download the topline report from our website.



Reaching Navel Gazers Through User Generated Content

Many of us have heard the expression “working in silos”. In fact, most of us have personally experienced the decline in productivity that comes with the resulting breakdown in cross-functional collaboration. Siloed departments suffer from decreased diversity of ideas and lack of teamwork, and imperceptibly, the company’s relevance takes a hit.

There is something very similar happening in media nowadays. Due to factors like overwhelming amounts of information and increasing amounts of media/information vehicles, consumers are becoming more and more media-siloed “navel gazers*”, increasingly getting most of their content from the same few sources that they know, relate to and trust (i.e. are relevant to them), while effectively creating “relevance filters” or barriers for other content providers. The marketing implications of this phenomenon are huge as brands have to work even harder to create the most relevant and engaging content that will interrupt navel gazers, cut through the media clutter and attract their attention.

One way to get attention is by leveraging user-generated content (UGC). Leveraging UGC is very important for reaching navel-gazers, but especially Millennials, who may not be effectively reached with traditional media – or may even reject traditional media – but are more likely to notice a brand’s content if it’s within a relevant realm, such as a friend’s Twitter, Facebook or Instagram account. The more marketing savvy companies have already figured out how to leverage UGC to impact sales. User-generated content will occur no matter what. What companies should do is try to control it by trying to proactively initiate these conversations with consumers, better select what those conversations will be and choose which UGC to include on their sites and other communication vehicles.

For example, a company creating a contest and inviting consumers to participate by submitting content should first ensure that the contest is fun, engaging and will make the brand relevant to target consumers. Or, if a company is collecting-user generated content to post on their site, they should also ensure that that content is engaging and will ultimately have a positive impact on the brand.

So, what can your company do to best ensure relevance among consumers through UGC? At Lab42 we can help you understand what UGC could be more effective before you post it on your website. Not only can we run quick tests on user-generated pictures to select the most appealing, funny, buzz-worthy and relevant ones, but also we can test potential contest concepts to determine which one would be the most motivating to your target audience to participate and also share. This approach will help you break media silos and convey relevance to your target consumers, thus growing your company’s marketing effectiveness.

*Reference- Why retailers are struggling to reach online audiences  – Jacqueline Lisk