Black Friday shoppers go mobile—and local

This year’s shopping holiday garnered significant attention for brands. Many saw increases in digital engagement as well as in-store sales. Here’s a roundup of notable offerings.

For many brand managers, the day after Thanksgiving isn’t the nightmare you expect.

Although there are tales of long lines and greedy shoppers, this year’s Black Friday outcome exceeded many marketers’ expectations.

Data from Google suggest Black Friday 2016 had the highest mobile shopping searches of any day during Thanksgiving week. Additionally, data “measured over 3 billion store visits” worldwide.

Here’s how those numbers are related, from Google:

Shoppers across the U.S. turned to mobile to not only find the best deals online but also to discover the best deals in-store: Rhode Island and Delaware had the most local shopping search interest (searches that contained “near me,” hours and stores) of any states in the nation.

Venture Beat adds:

Black Friday data suggests that in-store visits jumped by 65 percent compared to the average for a November weekend day, with shoppers also spending more time in stores. Electronic outlets, in particular, saw triple the foot traffic on Black Friday.

Google reports a duration spike for electronic stores, with shoppers spending between 35 minutes and 1.5 hours in-store, compared to the normal 25 minutes on other days in November. A PayPal report noted that around one-third of Thanksgiving and Black Friday shopping was done on mobile.

From deep discounts and online promotions to hyperlocal interactive approaches, here’s what a few brand managers drummed up for Black Friday:


The fast-food chain’s execs wanted to help shoppers start Black Friday with something sweet. To nudge them along on their collective shopping journey, customers were given free McCafé Peppermint Mochas and gift cards to put toward their holiday shopping at malls near the fast-food company’s headquarters in Oak Brook, Illinois.

According to a McDonald’s McCafé spokesperson, the marketing effort drew out some heartfelt moments from consumers (everything from tears to cheers).

Here’s a video of consumers’ reactions, which was shared on McDonald’s Facebook, Twitter and YouTube channels.


The e-commerce marketplace is known for having daily deals on products, goods and services. This year, though, brand managers said they planned to offer more promotions than usual.

Groupon focused its Black Friday efforts on health and beauty, home and electronics and toys. A manager said that Groupon’s discounts reached 20 percent off previously reduced items (a first for the brand).

Data from Adobe say this year’s top-selling electronics were Apple iPads, Samsung 4K televisions, the Apple Macbook Air, LG televisions, and Microsoft Xbox. Groupon says Apple Watches and iPhones were some of their most popular Black Friday products.

RELATED: The 2017 Social Media Conference for PR, Marketing and Corporate Communicators at Disney World.

To keep up with an increasing demand for discounts on electronics, brands similar to Groupon extended their Black Friday promotions to Cyber Monday (today).

Tamara Gaffney, principal analyst and director at Adobe Digital Insights, told Tech Crunch she expects Cyber Monday to surpass Black Friday and become the largest online sales day in history, with $3.36 billion.

General Motors

To garner the attention of deal-enthused consumers, Automotive News reports General Motors’ GMC truck brand began promoting “Black Friday All Month Long” as early as October.

Here’s more:

Like other retailers, automakers use holiday-themed promotions to boost sales during the final two months of the year and have steadily expanded the Christmas season over the past several years.

To entice a new audience—Costco members—GM execs pitched them an exclusive Black Friday offer:

GM this week began offering markdowns on the Chevrolet Corvette sports car through retailer Costco Wholesale Corp.’s car-buying club, the first time the Corvette has been offered through the discount retailer’s car buying service.

What effective approaches to Black Friday marketing have you noted, PR Daily readers?

(Image by John Henderson, via)


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