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Deloitte: Holiday shopping season to start strong

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Poll finds shoppers will split spending between stores and online

NEW YORK — The inaugural weekend to the 2016 holiday shopping season will see consumers spending a bit more, according to a survey from Deloitte LLP.

The study projects that 76% of Americans will go shopping over the Thanksgiving weekend, with per-capita spending of $400 over the four days between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday, an increase of nearly 8% from last year’s $369.

walgreens_checkout_union-square_nycA key metric that retail industry observers have watched in recent years is the breakdown between brick-and-mortar store and online retail sales during the holidays. Deloitte’s survey finds that shoppers expect to spend 51 % of their budget online and 46% in stores.

What’s more, online and in-store will draw nearly equal amounts of traffic, as 84% plan to shop in stores and 87% plan to shop online.

Meanwhile, 71% of shoppers polled expect to find comparable deals online and in stores between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday.

“Holiday shopping often kicks in a little later during election years, when the media is dominated by those ads rather than the early holiday promotional push,” says Rod Sides, vice chairman for Deloitte and the firm’s U.S. retail, wholesale and distribution leader. “However, elections typically bear little impact on holiday spending, and this year should be no different. Consumer fundamentals are strong, and retail sales have been healthy this fall.”

Deloitte’s forecast for increased holiday retail spending this year echoes that of the National Retail Federation, which projects a 3.6% increase for retail industry sales in November and December compared to the year earlier. The fourth quarter is widely regarded as the most critical time of year for retailers.

The Deloitte survey contacted 1,200 adults about their Thanksgiving weekend shopping plans and was conducted online between November 8 and November 13. Other key findings included the following:

  • Seventy-nine percent plan to shop on Black Friday, either in stores or online. Sixty-nine percent intend to head to stores, and 55% plan to shop online.
  • Cyber Monday should drive significant e-commerce sales, as 74% plan to shop online on November 28.
  • Sixty-three percent of shoppers plan to “webroom,” or look at items online then purchase in the store, and 44% expect to “showroom,” or go to the store to look at an item before buying online.
  • Nearly 70% won’t be motivated to shop on ThanksgivingDay because it’s important to spend time with family and friends. About two-thirds of shoppers disagree with stores being open on Thanksgiving. Twenty-two percent plan to shop in stores on Thanksgiving Day.
  • Socializing is a primary motivator for spending time in retail stores, as 62% plan to shop in-store with family or friends over the weekend.
  • Forty percent hadn’t yet done any holiday shopping at the time of the survey.
  • Midnight openings should draw 14% of Black Friday shoppers. Another 19% can be expected to head to a store between 5 a.m. and 6 a.m.

“The vast majority of shoppers indicate they’ll head both online and to the stores over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend and, nowadays, they really look at those experiences as one,” says Sides. “While digital and physical tactics should work in concert, it’s critical that retailers’ digital influence fits specific purposes and shopping days this week. Before Thanksgiving, the experience should be informational and inspirational, to influence the consumer in the research phase. Black Friday requires nimble and feature-rich mobile formats while people browse reviews and compare information at the point of purchase. Cyber Monday is purely transactional, where features like prices, free shipping and online return policies move into focus.”


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