Does a bargain on a flat-screen television bring happiness? Customer feedback data suggests not.
Black Friday shoppers in the US and UK are increasingly dissatisfied by the customer experience, despite Black Friday consumer happiness rising globally year-on-year during the peak retail celebration, according to data from the leading customer feedback solution, HappyOrNot (happy-or-not.com).
The Finnish technology company, which works with retailers such as Walmart, Zara, Carrefour, Lidl, Tesco, and Amazon, analyzed over 1.4 million Black Friday customer feedback impressions on its signature ‘Smiley’ terminals in retail stores across 27 countries over the last 3 years – to reveal how shoppers are feeling on one of the most notorious days in the retail calendar.
The anonymized data provides insight into how consumer happiness shifts throughout Black Friday, shows how customer satisfaction is changing year-on-year, and provides crucial reference points to compare happiness levels with average shopping days. Alongside this, the report also offers tangible, data-driven advice on how retailers can hone their service ahead of the pivotal day.
Ville Levaniemi, Executive VP of New Business and Founder of HappyOrNot, comments: “HappyOrNot’s Smileys are a stethoscope directly on the pulse of any business. This data is the most incisive look into the Black Friday phenomenon to-date, and demonstrates its effect on the customers who partake in the frantic rush around the aisles to the checkout queue every year. We hope that businesses take note of this Black Friday Effect, as an increasing number of faces turn from happy green to angry red. If they do, they’ll be able to implement better and more profitable retail experiences that will last much longer than one discount-heavy day.”
- US and UK customer satisfaction on Black Friday has dropped annually, while globally it continues to increase
Global satisfaction on Black Friday has steadily increased over the last three years, from 84.5% in 2015 to 85.7% in 2017. However, this global trend is not reflected in the US, where customer happiness has dropped 7.5 percentage points (84.5% in 2015, compared with 77% in 2017). The United Kingdom has also seen a steady decrease in customer satisfaction over the last three years, from 87.4% to 84%.
- The peak global interaction point for Black Friday comes at 5pm
Coinciding with the end of the working day, the highest number of Smiley button impressions per hour comes at 5pm – with 60,000 ‘Smiley’ presses logged within the hour in 2017. The number of interactions steadily grows over time, starting with 21,000 presses at 9am. This peak hour is an increase of nearly 20,000 impressions when compared to the average shopping day’s peak hour, suggesting a near 50% increase in footfall.
- US happiness starts lower than global average and drops by nearly twenty percentage points throughout the day
Feedback impressions from 2017 saw customer happiness on Black Friday in the US begin, at 9am, at 88.2% (lower than the global average of 91.1%), before steadily dropping throughout the day, until 9pm, where it finished at 70.6% (more than 25% lower than the global average of 86.1%).
- UK happiness starts higher than the global average, but is significantly lower by the end of the day
2017 saw UK customer happiness start at a higher percentage (93.7%) than the global average (91.1%), before dropping drastically throughout the day and finishing nearly seven percentage points lower than the the global average (UK customer satisfaction ending at 79.5%, compared with the global average of 86.1%).
- An average shopping day in the US is happier than Black Friday
US consumers begin and end the day much happier on an average shopping day, compared with Black Friday. Consumers begin the average shopping day happier (91.1%) than on Black Friday (88.2%), while the decline is far less drastic – dropping around ten percentage points on the average shopping day (81.5%) compared with nearly 20 percentage points on Black Friday (70.6%).
- Britain’s Black Friday lunchtime is happier than the average shopping day in the UK
Britons are actually slightly happier at the beginning and end of Black Friday (93.7% to 79.5%), than the average shopping day in the UK (93.2% to 78.1%). However the most significant comparative increase is between the hours of 2pm and 3pm, when Britons are three percentage points happier on Black Friday (85.4%) than on an average day (82.3%).
In response to the data, Heikki Väänänen, CEO and Founder of HappyOrNot, also comments:
“What we see from the data is that, year-on-year, consumers are becoming fatigued by Black Friday as a tradition. Retailers need new offerings and inventive experiences to buck the trend of increasing unhappiness. It’s not enough to simply slash prices. Customers already expect this.
“Our hourly data can equip retailers for the important day. The fact that happiness decreases as the day goes on should alert managers to the need for staff on-hand in the late afternoon and early evening. Though having employees on standby is not by any means an all-encompassing solution, it should help to alleviate the concerns of shoppers tiring as Black Friday comes to a close.
“The Black Friday data does in places starkly contrast with happiness levels for ‘a normal working day’. Though of course Black Friday is an important annual event, retailers should be as concerned with the other 364 days of the year, and what trends they can spot in their attempt to improve the consumer experience.”
HappyOrNot was founded by Heikki Väänänen and Ville Levaniemi in 2009. The company currently has over 4,000 clients in 117 countries, and has recorded nearly one billion responses to date. 25,000 physical ‘Smiley Terminals’ are in-use in airports, office spaces, and retail outlets around the world.
The company currently employs over 150 people, and has a global reseller network of over 110 companies). Its clients include Microsoft, McDonald’s, London Heathrow Airport, World Duty Free, Planet Fitness, and Goodwill. In 2017, The Financial Times listed HappyOrNot in the top quartile of the FT1000 Europe’s Fastest Growing Companies.
Retailers who use HappyOrNot terminals and software on average see a 19% decrease in unhappy customers within the first 12 months.