Discover the latest insights into Black Friday dynamics with a comprehensive study shedding light on challenges faced by both consumers and retailers. Conducted by Censuswide on behalf of Visa subsidiary Tink, this research delves into the impact of cost-of-living worries, consumer skepticism, and the mounting issue of returns, casting a shadow on the once-thriving shopping season.

Consumer Dilemma: As Black Friday approaches, 40% of consumers are reevaluating their participation due to heightened cost-of-living challenges. Findings reveal that 64% of shoppers are cutting back on non-essential spending, contributing to a more skeptical consumer base. With 34% already benefiting from year-round discounts, Black Friday’s allure is losing its charm.

Merchant Concerns: For retailers, Black Friday is increasingly perceived as a «necessary evil,» with 43% viewing it as a business obligation rather than an opportunity. Anticipating a weak peak season, 27% express concerns about potential bankruptcy or insolvency.

Returns Predicament: The rising problem of returns takes center stage, with merchants estimating a staggering 31% of last year’s Black Friday orders being returned. This exerts significant pressure on profit margins, and 19% of consumers express serious concerns about delayed refunds, potentially impacting their financial well-being.

The Value Conundrum: Consumer discernment is on the rise, with 48% of retailers admitting that Black Friday discounts aren’t significantly better than year-round offers. This perception shift contributes to 46% of merchants feeling that Black Friday jeopardizes profit margins.

Investing in Solutions: Recognizing the challenges posed by returns, 28% of merchants plan to invest more in refining returns processes. Addressing the slow pace of refund processing, a pain point for 33% of merchants, and alleviating financial concerns for 19% of consumers are key objectives in this strategic shift.

As Black Friday looms, the evolving landscape presents challenges for consumers and retailers alike. Navigating returns intricacies and addressing shifting perceptions will be paramount for businesses aiming to thrive in the upcoming shopping season. Stay informed to make the most of this dynamic retail environment.

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