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Black Friday 2023 – Significant Changes in Consumer Buying Behavior

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  • Black Friday reaffirms its status as the most anticipated shopping event, with 8 out of 10 urban Romanians taking advantage of this year's offers.
  • Toys and children's products, along with skincare products, had the highest conversion rate.
  • An increased use of wishlists and shopping carts for pre-planning is observed, indicating a transition towards more strategic purchases.
  • 58% of people stuck to their initial plan and purchased only the products they intended to from the start of Black Friday.
  • Among those who purchase gifts during Black Friday, most turn their attention to holiday gifts.

Starcom Romania has released the 9th edition of the Black Friday study, the first to annually investigate the behaviour of Romanian consumers, interviewing the same respondents before and after Black Friday for the most accurate and relevant results.

"The notable changes in buyer behaviour during Black Friday 2023 are reflected in a significant increase in the conversion rate to an unprecedented level of 99% (from our HumanGraphExperience studies). Buyers are more strategic, and plan their purchases more meticulously, using wishlists from platforms and even shopping carts for their wishlist. Interest in the upcoming Black Friday is increasing, but saving remains a priority, with consumer expectations growing year by year," said Mihaela Nouras – Consumer Strategist, Starcom Romania.

8 out of 10 Romanians made purchases this Black Friday

Romanians continue to pay special attention to prices, but we also observe a slight tendency to view Black Friday as a moment of indulgence. In 2023, we noted a significant increase in Black Friday shoppers, recording a remarkable 99% conversion rate among urban Romanian consumers.

Although in the minority, we also observe consumers with ever-growing expectations each year – nearly half of those who did not purchase on Black Friday stated that the discounts did not meet their expectations. However, only 4% of respondents had no intention to make purchases and did not make them during the Black Friday event, a decrease from the 20% recorded in 2022. A dominant segment in the 2023 shopping were millennials who enthusiastically embraced the discounts and families with children under 14 years of age.

Consumers want to be kept up to date with available offers

According to the new study, brands have been consistent with Romanians’ preferences in terms of content: daily posts about discounts, price drop notifications for wishlist products, and detailed product reviews were the most attractive in 2023. Additionally, traditional advertisements (TV, billboards, radio, etc.) and personalized newsletters with Black Friday offers also drew attention, rising to the top of the types of content noted during the promotional period.

Romanians have adopted more strategic approaches, minimizing impulsive decisions and better planning their purchases.

Most interested in Black Friday meticulously prepare their purchases, tracking offers throughout the year to make well-informed decisions. As a result, 58% of people stuck to their initial plan and purchased only the products they intended to from the start of Black Friday.

Pre-Black Friday communications have sparked enthusiasm among Romanian consumers, with an increase from 2022 in those who started to gather information as soon as they saw the first announcements about discounts.

In the shopping planning stage, 34% of consumers save products of interest in a wishlist. Moreover, there is an upward trend for creating a wishlist directly in the shopping cart to have the desired products at hand at the time of purchase.

Significant discounts continue to be, by far, the main trigger factor (70%); Black Friday enthusiasts would prefer a shorter Black Friday period but with substantial discounts.

With most Romanians following deals throughout November, they were ready to shop as soon as they found satisfactory offers. Thus, there is an observed increase in the tendency to make purchases before the official Black Friday day in Romania, significantly more than two weeks before the event.

On the threshold of offers, consumers prioritize themselves

5 out of 10 Black Friday shoppers continue to make purchases out of necessity, opting for products they currently do not own, a behaviour slightly on the rise compared to last year. On the other hand, 30% of them are drawn to products they want, without any particular reason, highlighting a trend of personal indulgence in this Black Friday.

Most Black Friday enthusiasts who initially planned to buy gifts for family and friends have started to focus more on their desires, prioritizing personal indulgence.

This behaviour change, likely influenced by significant discounts on products they wanted for themselves, reflects a shift in priorities, with buyers leaning towards satisfying their needs.

Online advertisements were one of the primary sources of information on Black Friday 2023, counteracting the decline of recent years. Retailer websites and online search engines remain popular, and TV commercials have slightly increased compared to last year. Additionally, more consumers prefer to get information directly in stores, while price comparison websites and deal sites have seen the most significant decrease from 2022.

Online shopping continues to dominate Black Friday purchases

Despite a slight decline this year compared to past years, online shopping remains the main purchasing channel. The main reasons online remains popular for consumers are that it is time-saving and easy to compare offers. Likely from the same convenience perspective, consumers increasingly use mobile phones to plan and complete purchases. Additionally, 40% of shoppers choose online platforms for the more significant discounts. Shopping directly from physical stores has increased this year, with consumers still preferring to see or test products before purchasing.

Top preferences: fashion, home appliances, mobile phones, and personal care

This year, Romanians’ preferred categories for Black Friday include clothing items, home appliances, mobile phones/tablets/accessories, personal care/skincare products, makeup products, and perfumes.

Clothing/footwear/accessories remain the main category of products added to the Black Friday wishlist; there is also a slight increase in purchases in this category. There is a 13% increase among those planning to buy mobile phones/tablets/accessories. Toys and children’s products, as well as skincare products, have recorded the best conversion rates. On the other hand, vacations have the most significant discrepancy between intention and final purchase.

50% of urban Romanians considered the discounts acceptable, indicating that Black Friday stands out from other promotional periods throughout the year.

Most urban shoppers were satisfied with this year’s Black Friday, although there is a slight decrease in satisfaction compared to last year.

However, the level of interest for the following Black Friday (2024) has increased compared to results from the previous year.

The festive spirit fuels the purchases of Romanians

As the end of the year approaches, people begin to think about the next major event: the winter holidays.

Thus, we see that, among Black Friday shoppers who take advantage of the promotional period to buy gifts, the majority are preparing for the festive season. Regarding gifts, Romanians primarily think of Christmas, while interest in other occasions outside the holidays is declining.

Most urban internet users tend to do Christmas shopping in December once they get into the festive spirit.

This behaviour is especially true for mature individuals over 55, who prefer shopping in physical stores, as observed during the Black Friday period.

Furthermore, 27% of consumers take advantage of pre-Christmas discounts, likely enjoying a dual benefit – obtaining discounts while savouring the festive atmosphere.


The Starcom study was conducted in two phases: the first, carried out before Black Friday to identify the intentions of prospective buyers, and the second, after the event, to uncover actual shopping behaviour and how buyer plans changed. The research was conducted on a representative sample of 983 internet users from urban areas. The same respondents were interviewed in both stages of the study (before and after Black Friday) to capture the behavioural changes between the planned phase and the final buying behaviour accurately.

You can download the entire study from below View File
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