For more than 40 years, American consumers — and even consumers around the world — have gone crazy for a great Black Friday deal. It’s nothing short of tradition.

Last year, shoppers spent $8.9 billion on Black Friday. Surprisingly, this was a slight decrease from 2020 by $0.1 billion. Though the difference is small, it marks the first time ever that this figure went down. What’s more: Adobe predicts only a 1% increase for 2022 to $9 billion.

So what’s in store for 2022? While we can’t predict the future (yet), taking a look at e-Commerce and readership data from the Skimlinks and Taboola platforms are the closest we can get to a crystal ball. When paired together, these pieces of information help us map the trajectory of what consumers want.

Industry data shows that inflation and budget constrictions are causing some shoppers to be more cautious with money. This might mean minimal growth this year, but shoppers will certainly be on the hunt for a good deal. We’ll likely see heavy spending in categories and on certain products, like consumer tech, home goods, and fitness products.

Amazon’s October 2022 Prime Day: A glimpse at what’s to come

Holiday shopping is already in season for many online and in-store retailers. For example, Target has already kicked off its Black Friday specials.

On October 11 and 12, Amazon held its second Prime Day of the year, which showed that people are still in the game for good discounts. And because Prime Day is just over 6 weeks away from Black Friday, it’s a good indicator of what we can expect to continue doing well.

Here are some of the top products sold during Prime Day:

  • Air Fryers
  • Recliners
  • Apple TVs
  • Online Cooking Classes for Kids
  • Vacuums
  • Laptops
  • Electric mixers

Readership data on web traffic backs up this surge in demand. Here’s some data from Taboola’s network to reflect the boost in attention on select terms, which continued after Prime Day came to a close:

Item Pageviews* % Increase in readership vs. the last 45 days*
Air Fryer 2,727,350 ↑ 15%
Vacuum cleaner 60,530 ↑ 160%
Mixer 35,990 ↑ 320%
Computer 2,033,840 ↑ 575%

*Skimlinks data pulled October 18 and 19, 2022

While the air fryer may seem to have had its moment during pandemic times, its popularity is here to stay — thanks to TikTok for keeping the versatile appliance alive by helping cooking enthusiasts share some of the hottest, newest recipes, like these cacio e pepe bagel chips. However, consumers might be especially drawn to air fryers this year due to their energy-saving capabilities, in order to create their favorite recipes in an inflation-friendly manner.

Black Friday 2022 breakdown: Hot products by category

By gleaning what’s hot right now, combined with Black Friday trends from last year, we’re better able to map the path forward — and better predict what this year’s Black Friday will bring.

Home goods (indoor and outdoor)

According to Skimlinks, one of the highest-performing categories in 2021 was indoor and outdoor Home products. Here are some top selling products:

  • Cookware sets and pans
  • Bed sheets
  • Bonfire pits
  • Portable massage devices
  • pizza ovens
  • coffee makers
  • Self-cleaning litter boxes

This is backed up by Skimlinks’ data for all of Q4 2021, showing a massive lead in order value within the Home vertical (with Fashion & accessories in close second).

Skimlinks is already seeing traction on Black Friday articles about Lowe’s home goods deals, as well as Walmart’s early deals on home goods like the coffee makers, air fryers, smokeless grills, electric blenders, and slow cookers. We’re also seeing readership data on the Taboola publisher network spiking.

Term Pageviews* % boost in readership vs. the last 45 days*
Refrigerator 2,578,630 ↑ 110%
Coffee Maker 39,750 ↑ 145%
Crockpot 261,690 ↑ 146%

*Taboola readership data pulled October 18 and 19, 2022

Home Depot and Lowe’s are expected to report Q3 earnings this week — and their results are a big indicator of the state of consumer spending during inflation. Based on successful Q2 reports and the consumer trends we’re seeing, the home improvement category is likely to continue to stay top-of-mind with shoppers through the end of the year.

Consumer technology

Tech has the tendency to dominate Black Friday conversations, as many shoppers wait for the season to make their tech purchases. On top of that, we often see huge spikes in activity for tech products that don’t often go on sale, including Apple products like Airpods and Apple Watches.

According to data from Adobe, the Nintendo Switch and the Oculus VR system were among the top sellers from 2021.

So far, we’re seeing plenty of (reliable) traction on tech products like TVs, laptops and desktop computers, smart watches, headphones and earbuds, and gaming accessories. This is mimicked in Taboola’s readership data.

Term Pageviews* % boost in readership vs. the last 45 days*
Amazon Fire TV 81,130 ↑ 781%
Airpods 2,435,970 ↑ 21%
Kindle 151,770 ↑ 96%

*Taboola readership data pulled October 18 and 19, 2022

Pro-Apple or not, it’s safe to say that Apple users are some of the most loyal fans — and Apple doesn’t need to announce groundbreaking, new products each year to keep its sales going. Chances are, the company’s safety-first focus this year, which is shown in the new iPhones and Apple Watches, will be more than enough to keep the brand on global gift lists this year.

Fitness products

Lululemon was among the top-performing athletic wear brands last year. It’s highly likely that the athleisure juggernaut will take a slice of the pie this year too. Skimlinks is seeing traffic to articles about lululemon 2022 deals, including 30-50% discounts on top products.

If there’s an athleisure brand that wears a lot of hats — or, in this case, shoes — it’s lululemon. Just this year, the brand broke into the saturated sneaker business and its shoe models are already gaining praise and even making shopping lists, truly setting itself apart from the rest of the market.


Skimlinks is also seeing strong traffic for sports gear like electric bicycles at Rad Power Bikes.

Electric bikes are making waves this year and likely for many reasons, including their eco-friendly, healthy appeal and ability to save people money on transportation during a cost of living crisis. And brands all over the world are getting in on the trend.

Taboola data affirms this, showing spikes in pageviews and overall readership for the following terms (just to name a few):

Term Pageviews* % boost in readership vs. the last 45 days*
Bikes 261,870 ↑ 80%
Leggings 359,310 ↑ 140%
Sports bras 8,830 ↑ 2,252%

*Taboola readership data pulled October 18 and 19, 2022

How will consumers shop differently in 2022?

Experts see a few key trends that will impact shopping behavior this year:

  1. Inflation and budget constrictions mean less overall spending and more vigilance over what’s being purchased. In a Skimlinks study, 75% of shoppers confirmed that rising inflation impacts their spending, and that affordability is a key driver in their brand and shopping preferences.
  2. Earlier deals (in conjunction with budget constrictions) mean that consumers will spread out their spending over several days or weeks. According to Skimlinks, 42% of shoppers said they’ll shop earlier in 2022 than they did last year.
  3. Shoppers will be even more focused on value, saving their money for the best deals they can find. According to Skimlinks, 90% of shoppers have switched retailers or brands, and price is the top motivator for doing so.

Another notable trend from 2021 was the rise of the “mobile-first” shopper. Skimlinks saw a large jump in consumers who used their mobile device to shop and find items they like, but later made the purchase on their desktop.

Retailers can make the most of this by ensuring their sites are mobile-friendly and easy to navigate, while paying special attention to the omni-channel experience. (Is there any way to make it easier for visitors to transition from mobile to desktop and vice-versa?)

Using data to “see the future” of Black Friday

Black Friday is a way to keep a pulse on what’s hot right now, but it’s also a way to keep a pulse on consumerism as a whole. We can glimpse into the state of the economy, into the mind of a shopper, and into the cultural threads that keep us connected.

Preliminary data and projections show that we may not be on track for a blowout Black Friday, but we’ll certainly see some movement in popular areas. As a retailer, it’s time to gear up on marketing and promoting what’s poised to do well. (And it wouldn’t hurt to check out some recession marketing tips for both the short and long-term.)

By tuning into what’s happening with readership and e-Commerce, we can be better prepared for the whirlwind shopping season ahead.

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