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In the midst of the Black Friday shopping frenzy, Algolia soared to new heights, setting new records and delivering an extraordinary experience to customers across the globe. The AI Search platform witnessed a 12% surge in search requests, totaling 5.8 billion queries, compared to the previous year’s Black Friday in 2022. As online shoppers headed to a variety of digital storefronts in pursuit of exclusive discounts and enticing deals, Algolia’s AI Search platform proved to be the beacon of efficiency handling a staggering 35% increase in activity compared to a ‘normal’ Friday a month earlier in October with ease.

At Algolia, we’re pleased to say that the AI Search platform performed exactly how we expected on Black Friday, reaching peak load at 11:25 am EST with over 100,000 queries per second. Throughout the entire Black Friday period, even during peak moments, the AI Search platform didn’t miss a beat, even when it experienced massive spikes in traffic to the order of magnitude of 5.8 billion search queries, and maintaining an impeccable 99.999% availability. We appreciate the trust and loyalty our customers place in us, and take it very seriously. We are steadfast in our commitment to pushing the boundaries of innovation, delivering value to our customers worldwide.

The AI Search platform performed exactly how we expected on Black Friday, reaching peak load at 11:25 am EST with over 100,000 queries per second

And the survey says…

In the choreography of consumer behavior, 75% of U.S. shoppers harmonized their plans to dance through the sales during the Thanksgiving weekend – according to a survey of 1,000 U.S.-based adult consumers conducted by Algolia with Dynata. What we discovered was a symphony of shifting traditions and a rhythm of holiday excitement that echoed through our findings.

Black Friday has evolved for many. A striking 45% of U.S. adults now view it as a season rather than a single day, a crescendo that echoes through the broader holiday sales experience.

According to Adobe Analytics (shared in The LA Times), consumers spent $5.6 billion online on Thanksgiving Thursday, up 5.5% from last year and nearly twice as much as the $2.87 billion that was spent on the same day in 2017. On Black Friday, a record-breaking $9.8 billion in online sales was recorded (a 7.5% increase over Black Friday 2022). Additionally, nearly 60% of purchases were made using a mobile device, an all-time high.

Gifts galore

The stage is set for a performance of gift-giving prowess. Among the stars, fashion and accessories take center stage, with 50% of respondents planning an ensemble of style – this is reflected in actual search queries, which increased 112% over last year’s Black Friday. The supporting acts include electronics and gadgets (45%), food and beverages (44%), gift cards and vouchers (41%), beauty and personal care (38%), and the arts in books, music, and entertainment (36%). In terms of year over year comparisons, Algolia saw actual increases in search queries for beauty and personal care of 130%, while search queries for food and beverage items increased 35%.

Consumers spent $5.6 billion online on Thanksgiving Thursday, up 5.5% from last year and nearly twice as much as the $2.87 billion that was spent on the same day in 2017.

The end of one holiday, the beginning of another…

As Thanksgiving bows out, the holiday preparations gracefully step into the spotlight. Our survey reveals that 47% of respondents plan to complete their holiday shopping waltz in early December, with only 9% of respondents completing their shopping in early-November. The overture begins as early as August, with shoppers composing their holiday plans, but the grand finale, the “checkout” click, is reserved for the symphony of December.

The search term “Christmas” crescendoed on Algolia’s AI Search platform in August 2023, hinting at the prelude to the holiday shopping season. However, the survey notes that only 48% will embark on the journey of decking the halls post-Thanksgiving, unveiling the timeless truth that the winter holiday season officially unfurls its magic after the last bite of turkey.

Family is most important during the holiday season

Amidst the festivities, the family stands as the maestro of the holiday symphony. An astounding 87% of respondents will compose their gift-giving shopping with family in mind, a sentiment echoed by 92% of Millennials and 85% of Gen Z. When asked to rank the joys of the season, family surpassed food, travel, time off work, and the giving and receiving of presents.

Surprisingly, food—often a symphony of flavors during the holidays—played the second fiddle, with only 10% of respondents choosing it as their number one holiday perk. Travel, often seen as a holiday escapade, takes an unexpected turn as the Grinch of the season. Despite the bustling travel week of Thanksgiving, 70% of respondents rank it as the last or second-to-last note in their holiday symphony, revealing that for many, it’s a need rather than a want. Again, Algolia’s actual results bear this out with an actual 12% decrease for leisure, travel and tourism in search queries over the previous year’s Black Friday.

In this grand overture of holiday revelations, the data reveals the nuanced melody of consumer sentiment, showing that amidst the evolving traditions, the heartbeat of family remains the timeless anthem of the season.

 

* Algolia partnered with Dynata to survey 1,000 U.S.-based consumers aged 18+ to gain insight into shopping habits around the popular Black Friday sales events during Thanksgiving Weekend. The survey was conducted between November 14 and November 17, 2023.

About the author
Bernadette Nixon

Chief Executive Officer and Board Member at Algolia

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