Ready, Set, Splurge: Planning for Black Friday 2021

Author: Sally Ballout

Editor: Mehr Hussain

The Urge to Splurge

The last 12 months have seen unprecedented growth in people shopping online. Global e-commerce growth hit 28% in 2020 and is forecasted to grow 14% in 2021. This momentum will peak during what is arguably retailers' busiest time of the year – Black Friday. With people's calendars marked for November 26th, this year, the urge to splurge is real.

In fact people are so excited that, regardless of all the apprehensiveness around economic uncertainty, a shopper's average spend on Black Friday this year is expected to increase by 40% (Ipsos, 2021). That's an unbeatable opportunity that one more purchase and one more brand can secure in their valuable shoppers' carts, and hearts.

If you're wondering whether that brand could be you, we're here to answer any questions. While center stage was reserved for electronics brands during the Black Fridays of yesteryear, this year shoppers' are considering a more diverse set of categories. Alongside mobile phones and home appliances, this year's splurge will also include home décor, fashion, beauty and hygiene (Ipsos, 2021). Spending on experiences will also play a bigger part in this year's mood-booster splurge, as ~77% of GCC residents plan to travel before end of year (Travel Leaders Group Survey.

And in true spirit of celebration, this year our shoppers won't only be thinking of themselves.

So, could this new rigor to gift mean anything new for marketeers' strategies this Black Friday? Well, the biggest challenege of gifting is figuring out what to actually get someone. And while your shoppers are in the mood to splurge and share the joy with their loved ones, helping them discover the right options is essential.

TikTok has inspired more impulse buying than any other platform because of the unique opportunity for content to be discovered by millions of people.

The 3-Week Expedition
To an outsider, Black Friday may seem chaotic, but our shoppers approach this occassion with a strategy – there's a buildup and we're calling it the 3-week expedition. So, buckle up and mark your calendars because shoppers want you to be part of their journey leading up to the big day.

Inspire my Wish List: T-3 to 2 weeks
T-3 to 2 weeks, the TikTok communitys will start perking their ears as they get in the mindset to shop on Black Friday.

Their exploration is sealed by following creators and profiles, so now is your time to capture their attention, seed their interest and build your following. There is a community for everyone on TikTok, but you don't want to lay all your cards on the table – our shoppers are looking for entertainment and a slow hook.
There's also nothing better than matching their excitement by giving them an opportunity to engage with you.

Fill my Cart: T-2 to 1 week
There's a sense of urgency during Black Friday that isn't experienced as intensely on other shopping occasions. Products that were “nice to have” will become “must have” as shoppers are incentivized by offers and deals. This sense of urgency means people are serious about their shopping intentions with 73% of shoppers relying on video platforms for Black Friday purchase planning (TTMBI, 2020).

Here's the thing though. This waiting period while adding items to your cart is typically a solo experience and let's face it the longer items sit in your cart, the less excited you may feel about them and the more you may start questioning your choices. A solo add to cart experience is no fun for anyone and dangerous territory for marketeers.

According to Behave, ‘a cognitive study into shopping behaviors and nuances in METAP’ 2021 – with TikTok, however, it has the potential to become an enriching experience that increases conversion; because it's always more fun to shop with friends! With the community at the heart of the experience, shopping on TikTok increases joy and trust (Behave, 2021). Conviction to make a decision is shortcut through the power of authentic community. With the community at the heart of the experience, shopping on TikTok increases joy and trust (Behave, 2021).

During Black Friday you can give shoppers the opportunity to share their carts with their fellow community members to rally even more support. Focus on driving a spike in their consideration and add-to-cart behavior. As shoppers' excitement builds, your efforts really need to sharpen.
The cart is also a source of intelligence for brands; an opportunity for them to forecast the products that will most likely sell out, and create relevant hype weeks before they actually do. Brands with their ear to the ground and that are in tune with trends, will go a step further and translate the virtual cart in-store.

Shoppers' longing to visit physical retail stores might not replace online commerce – but Ipsos predicts it will increase as lockdown measures will ease to varying degrees across the GCC . So mirroring their online conversations can provide a sense of continuity and trust that reassures them that brands care.

Get me Across the Finish Line: T-1 week to 0
As Black Friday approaches, our typical add to cart behavior should no longer stand for “maybe”… it should stand for “I'm ready to click purchase on Friday”. You’re almost there, you’ve inspired their wishlist and made your way to their cart. But “cart dropout” is a serious ailment that keeps many a marketeer up at night. The stragglers, the hesitaters, and the backtrackers will still need that extra nudge to make their way across the finish line – now is not the time to slow down – now is the time to rally.

Hype up and reward the community of users who have already made their purchases, and leverage that to show those who haven't what they’re missing out on. Keep your ears to the ground and all hands-on deck to identify and celebrate your champions early on. You may be one nudge away from curing that pesky “cart drop out”.

Let me be your #1 fan
The best part of shopping during Black Friday is sharing (maybe even boasting about) the bargain you just scored. Whether it's to claim that you partook in the year's biggest shopping event or just to showcase your find, shoppers turn to TikTok – a community-led platform – to share their joy. Black Friday turns the community into savvy critics as they review brands, sample products, offer their opinion and sometimes even revive old trends; with 73% giving product recommendations to friends & family (Global Web Index, 2020). They'll share everything from the product functionality to their check out experience and the packaging.

So, while the Black Friday deals may be over, the period after is where brands can really reap the rewards of their marketing efforts through UGC and collaborations. Brands that capitalize on their shoppers' opinions stand to win loyal fans. Black Friday can help you cultivate and sustain new communities and new opportunities to shine – and building lasting relationships.

After 18 months of playing it safe, for all the right reasons of course, consumers are ready to celebrate and shopping is just the reprieve they need. So, what are you waiting for? Shoppers will be going all out this Black Friday – they're eager and excited to treat themselves and others. It's time to lean in, get ready and get set for the splurge!


IPSOS surveyed 1,200 digital platform users from KSA, UAE, Egypt and Turkey between 1st July to 6th July 2021 to identify the expected change in user behaviour this year and identify key predictions in the context of TikTok.
Forbes, 2021:
Travel Leaders Group Survey, Longwoods survey, ETC survey, Expedia survey
Global Web Index, 2020.
TikTok METAP x BEHAVE – ‘a cognitive study into the shopping behaviors and nuances in METAP’ – 2021