[Study] Will Black Friday 2022 Be Ecommerce's Biggest Yet?

November 17, 2022image

During the pandemic, consumers flocked to online shopping, and retailers shifted their practices to meet demand, resulting in a huge boom for the ecommerce industry. But will this growth persist as we return to in-person activities? Black Friday trends for 2022 offer a glimpse into the future of ecommerce. 

While online search volume for Black Friday peaked in 2019, ecommerce spending tells a different story. Last year’s online consumer spending for Black Friday hit $8.9 billion, just shy of the whopping all-time high of $9 billion in 2020. 

But the massive spike in “buy online” searches from the pandemic’s early days has now dropped to below pre-2020 levels, perhaps signaling a cooling off period for ecommerce. Or, maybe this year’s Black Friday will surpass 2020’s all-time high in online spending—particularly as recession-leery consumers scour the web for the best deals. 

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Ahead of Black Friday, a few things are clear: 

  1. Search volume for “Black Friday deals” is up from last year
  2. Tech products are taking the top spot in search
  3. Shoppers are turning to TikTok for inspiration
  4. Amazon still reigns supreme when it comes to online retailers for Black Friday 

By breaking down these trends and analyzing the data, we can outline key patterns to help shoppers, retailers, brands, and content creators prepare for, and capitalize on, this year’s ecommerce extravaganza. 

Are holiday sales what they once were? 

As more and more holiday sales are extended to compete with Cyber Monday and Prime Day, the magic of single-day shopping has waned. But this doesn’t mean that shoppers are less interested in potential wins on Black Friday. In fact, global searches for “Black Friday deals” are up 246.6% from last year, according to Semrush data. 

This year’s most-searched Black Friday topics include “Black Friday deals” and “Black Friday Walmart.” Upon closer analysis, Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Amazon, and Kohl’s are the most searched retailers in conjunction with “Black Friday.” And for products, technology is the most highly anticipated category globally, according to search volume data compiled by Semrush. 

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In the US, this data can be broken down further by state to show year-over-year growth in Black Friday interest. 

In California, Best Buy is the top-searched brand among “Black Friday” queries, whereas in Florida, it’s Walmart. Across the board, the most populous states have seen a marked increase in average monthly searches for “Black Friday deals” when we compare September 2021 to September 2022. 

New York searches for the term have more than tripled, while in Texas, monthly searches have increased by more than 13-fold, according to Semrush data. This growth disproves the notion that holiday tie-in sales are losing their allure, so brands shouldn’t dismiss timely sales as potential drivers of internet traffic. 

What are this year’s hottest products, brands, and retailers?  

So, interest in Black Friday is up this year ahead of the big day. But what are people excited for? Digging into search data for products and brands can paint a larger picture of where people are focused for the upcoming sales. 

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Electronics top the list for most anticipated items, according to Semrush. Nintendo Switch, the Apple Watch, iPhone, and AirPods claim the top spots for Black Friday product searches. As for brands, Nike, Zara, and Lululemon are the most searched in conjunction with “Black Friday.” 

As Amazon reigns supreme in all things ecommerce, it’s interesting to look at their most-searched products for clues about the most in-demand items this year. Searches for “iPhone 13 Pro Max case” top the charts for 2022 so far, followed by “Apple watch band.” 

The most searched product on Amazon in September 2022 was the Apple iPhone 11, 64GB, Purple - Unlocked (Renewed Premium). As for non-Apple products, the Blink Outdoor security camera was among the most-searched products on Amazon in September as well. 

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Aside from technology, Amazon is also seeing surging search volume for “HeyNuts leggings” and “women’s fall sweaters 2022,” both up more than 1,000% from August to September of this year. 

Marketers and brands can make gains in online visibility by being part of the conversation around this year’s most popular products ahead of Black Friday, whether they take their signals from Amazon or search data. 

People online will be searching for these items and related content like buying guides, reviews, and comparisons, offering an opportunity for brands to capture audience attention with useful content on the most popular products. 

How does TikTok fit into Black Friday shopping? 

Equally as important as tracking what people want to buy on Black Friday is tracking how they discover those products. Given TikTok’s global popularity, it makes sense that consumers are turning to the app for inspiration. 

According to Semrush data, monthly searches for “TikTok shop” are up 650% from last year, representing a dramatic shift in how consumers explore products and discover new trends. 

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In addition to search volume, TikTok is also making gains as a platform for both buyers and sellers to shop in the app itself. While the platform is still new, global traffic for “shop.tiktok.com” and “seller.tiktok.com” have been climbing drastically since its launch in 2021, particularly since April 2022. 

The rising success of these features signals TikTok’s direction toward becoming a platform for social commerce. The company is slowly expanding the platform globally, most recently making it available in the US to select brands, right in time for Black Friday.

For brands, the popularity of TikTok as a discovery platform highlights the potential of TikTok as an ad channel. To get their brand in front of internet shoppers, marketers should take a cue from where these shoppers spend their time online. 

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Serving branded content on TikTok, where people are already looking for trends and new items to purchase, could lead to increased visibility and gains with fresh audiences. Partnering with influencers is also a great way to get into your audience’s TikTok feeds. 

Where is digital ad spend heading? 

Analyzing search trends shows us one side of the ecommerce picture ahead of Black Friday. But how are brands and marketers behaving as we approach the event? 

Global digital ad spend is down this year by 6%, according to Semrush. Digging into industries and categories reveals more nuanced trends. 

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Categories boasting growth in digital ad spend include digital products, where spend is up 75% year over year. This correlates with the popularity of tech products in search volume, as high search and online demand drive ad budget and channel placement. 

Another notable category with increased digital ad spend since last year is products for kids, a sector that is up 98% globally. So, the sweeping claim that "digital ad spend is down” ignores two industries seeing massive growth in spending.

As marketers make their plans for Black Friday, the popularity of tech products and TikTok’s platform take center stage. By publishing content on popular platforms that align with search trends, brands can make gains in online visibility and reach more people as they research the best deals ahead of a much-anticipated Black Friday in 2022. 

To stay on top of the latest trends, brands and marketers can use tools like Semrush’s Keyword Magic Tool for keyword research, Traffic Analytics for a look into any domain's web traffic, Semrush Apps for Ecommerce for gathering industry insights, and Advertising Research for evaluating and planning ad spend.

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In need of exclusive data for an upcoming story? Reach out to pr@semrush.com for media inquiries and questions.

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