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Deloitte forecasts strong Black Friday sales

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NEW YORK — Black Friday will be back this year, according to Deloitte’s “2021 Pre-Thanksgiving Pulse Survey,” released on Monday. The survey found that 56% of consumers are planning to shop in-store on Black Friday, up from 41% last year. The share of online sales for the day is holding steady at 18%.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday continue to capture a significant share of the shopping budget during the Thanksgiving period, Deloitte said. And while online shopping leads in traffic and average spend, in-store sales are likely to regain lost ground during the Thanksgiving period, as pandemic concerns continue to wane. The survey found:

  • Black Friday shoppers are expected to spend $135 on average in store, up from $124 in 2020.
  • From Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday, online spending will comprise 60% of shoppers’ budgets, compared to 40% for in-store.
  • Fifty-six percent of Black Friday shoppers (versus 41% last year) plan to shop in-store as safety concerns are waning. As a result, 18% of Thanksgiving budget will be spent in-store, up from 13% last year.
  • The top reasons to shop in-store on Black Friday are to take advantage of the best deals (70%) and to experience the excitement of the day (35%). In addition, consumers expect to get an early start with 42% planning to shop between midnight and 6 a.m.
  • As consumers continue to encounter higher prices, mass merchants (57%) and online retailers (54%) are the most preferred venues for shopping over the Thanksgiving period.

Consumers are planning to spend an average of $448 during the Thanksgiving period, a 12% increase from last year and surpassing pre-pandemic levels. More than one-third (35%) of holiday shoppers say they will spend more over the holidays than they originally planned. However, 41% of those planning to spend more will do so as a result of inflation.

Supply chain challenges and inflation continue to disrupt: 63% of holiday shoppers have already experienced stockouts, 54% are reporting higher prices, and 37% are reporting fewer discounts this season. This has resulted in consumers shopping earlier, with 70% beginning their shopping season by the last week of October.

“Thanksgiving has traditionally signaled the kick-off to the holiday shopping season,” said Rod Sides, vice chair at Deloitte LLP, and U.S. retail, wholesale and distribution leader at the firm. “However, stockouts and inflation have caused consumers to start buying earlier to ensure they can get the best price for what they want, while it’s available. Retailers should be prepared to welcome shoppers throughout the holiday weekend as they prioritize items they can purchase and take home that day. In situations where supply chain and inventory are a challenge this season, retailers will need to have a strong substitution strategy in place to keep shoppers in the store or online.”

Many consumers had planned to start their holiday shopping earlier this year to avoid stockouts, the survey found In fact, 70% of shoppers had already started by the last week of October. In general, half (51%) of consumers’ holiday budgets will be spent during the Thanksgiving period. But consumers who started their holiday shopping before the end of October will spend more ($469) during the Thanksgiving period than those who start shopping in November or later ($394). And 87% of the early shopper’s budget is expected to be spent by the end of the Thanksgiving period.

“As supply chain challenges continue to snowball, holiday shoppers have quickly realized that a turtle dove in the hand is worth two in the bush,” said Stephen Rogers, executive director, Deloitte Insights Consumer Industry Center. “While spending during the Thanksgiving period will be on the rise, overall participation will be down slightly. Many shoppers have already secured their wish-list items and taken advantage of retailers’ ‘rolling Black Friday’ offers. That said, early holiday shoppers are still set to spend more over Thanksgiving, demonstrating a merry opportunity for both in-store and online retailers.”


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