Corporate Eye

Black Friday Search Trends for 2009 and What They Mean for Marketers

black_fridayGoogle released its annual Black Friday search trends analysis recently, and searches for “Black Friday” and “Black Friday sales” were up more than 20% and 50%, respectively in 2009 over 2008.  Considering that Google controls more than half of all search traffic online, I think it’s safe to call these results a fair representation of what’s really going on across the Internet.  Searches for “printable coupons” and “sales” were also up by 50% over the prior year.  Clearly, the economy is driving holiday shopping this year, and consumers are looking for deals more than ever.

Another interesting statistic was the spike in Black Friday related searches, particularly deals, which began picking up steam a month earlier in 2009 than they did in 2008.  The peak in shopping-related searches occurred on Black Friday, itself.

Interestingly, online sales were up by 11% on Black Friday (according to comScore), which tells us not only are more and more people turning to the Internet to find deals and holiday sales, but they’re also making more of those purchases online.

And of course, searches for the ‘must have’ toys and products of the 2009 holiday season are up as you’d expect.  This year, Zhu Zhu Pets and Mattel’s Mindflex games are hot!

So what does this tell us from a marketing and branding perspective?

First, the trend in searching for deals earlier probably won’t go away even when the economy turns around.  People will become accustomed to searching for great deals online earlier, and your brands need to be there when they’re actually searching.

Second, consumers are making more holiday purchases online, but in-store sales continue to dominate.  If consumers are using the Web to find deals and research products, doesn’t it make sense that capturing them with amazing offers that they can’t refuse at the time they’re searching for them would be a good idea?  There’s something to be said for getting out of the gates early and snatching up those sales before they have a chance to get away.  Put together your best offers and go out big and early!

What do you think?

Image: Flickr

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Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for and, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as,,, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.