Why Consumers #OptOutside on Black Friday

What social media tells us about changing attitudes about Black Friday

Flashy flyers advertising deals. Lines wrapping around the block. Brawls. Stampedes. Black Friday is the largest retail holiday in the United States and while it draws crowds year after year, it is starting to lose some appeal. In 2015, outdoor retailer REI launched a campaign to encourage people to #OptOutside, closing their stores on Black Friday. #OptOutside encourages people to spend time outdoors and ditch the stores. Is that message resonating with consumers?

Looking at social media data, we are able to understand how consumers react to #OptOutside.

REI introduced #OptOutside in 2015 with a message of connecting people with their families and friends over the holidays through nature. To strengthen that message, the company closed its doors on Black Friday. The trend piqued consumer interest in 2015, and gained even more traction in 2016.

Why people #OptOutside

Sentiment is highly positive, with 87 percent positive sentiment in 2015 and 96 percent positive sentiment in 2016, excluding neutral. People cited reasons such as ditching the crowds and relaxing outside as reasons they #OptOutside. Many choose to spend their time in national parks. Oregon National Parks even waived their parking fee on Black Friday to encourage visitors to spend time in nature.

Where people #OptOutside

#OptOutside is the most prominent in West Coast states. The states with people discussing #OptOutside the most are Utah, Oregon, Washington, and Colorado: all home to well-known national parks.


Since #OptOutside is a relatively new campaign, time will tell if it continues to be popular among consumers. Using social media can help us learn about evolving consumer opinions at Black Friday.
For more information on top retail trends, download our marketing insights for retailers guide here.

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