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Analysis

2016 pre-Thanksgiving retail pulse survey

What will retailers be thankful for this year?

Thanksgiving weekend is often considered the kick-off to holiday shopping and sets the tone for the holiday shopping season. Explore consumer attitudes and shopping trends going into the peak weekend. Will retailers be thankful this year?

Anticipating the season’s peak shopping weekend

For many consumers, holiday shopping over Thanksgiving weekend has become a tradition. With stores open on Thanksgiving, hot deals on Black Friday, promotions at small businesses on Saturday, and the online blitz of Cyber Monday, shoppers enjoy the exhilaration of a good deal offered for a limited time and retailers benefit from the myriad of dazzled shoppers on a mission to clear their shopping lists. Will 2016 be a year that retailers are thankful for?

Our pre-Thanksgiving survey polled more than 1,200 consumers across the United States to get a pulse check on their shopping strategy for the long Thanksgiving weekend that includes Black Friday and Cyber Monday. This year 76 percent of holiday shoppers plan to shop over the long weekend, spending an average of $400—that is $31 more than last year.

Read the press release.

2016 pre-Thanksgiving pulse survey

In-store versus online shopping

Whether or not brick and mortar stores will be any less crowded due to increased online sales remains to be seen. The majority of respondents indicate they will shop both online and in stores over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

In fact, according to our survey, online and in-store will get nearly equal amounts of traffic, although preferences will vary by shopping day. Eighty-four percent of respondents plan to shop in-store over the holiday weekend and 87 percent plan to do so online. The majority (71 percent) feel they find comparable deals online and in the stores between Thanksgiving Day and Cyber Monday.

Rod Sides, vice chairman and US leader, Retail & Distribution, adds perspective to the survey:

While digital and physical tactics should work in concert, it is 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.

holiday shoppers

Shopping on less traditional days

While roughly one in five (22 percent) of people plan to shop in stores on Thanksgiving Day, nearly seven in 10 (69 percent) report that they won’t be shopping on Thanksgiving Day. These respondents say spending time with family and friends is more important. On that note, 67 percent disagree with stores being open on Thanksgiving.

A somewhat new addition to the Thanksgiving weekend shopping trend is the evolution of shopping at small businesses the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Small businesses may have reason to celebrate over the weekend, as 42 percent of respondents report that they are motivated to shop the Saturday after Thanksgiving in support of local business.

fir tree and holiday star

View the following reports for additional findings:

2016 holiday survey: An annual study of the peak shopping season
2016 Deloitte holiday survey: Ringing in the retail (Deloitte University Press)
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