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2017 pre-Thanksgiving holiday retail survey

Survey results highlight the 2017 holiday shopping trends

Thanksgiving weekend, the kick-off for holiday gift spending, often sets the tone for the holiday shopping season. This year consumer confidence is up and consumers are looking to increase holiday gift spending. While online is expected to pull more of shoppers’ budgets, there is still a healthy outlook for traffic in the stores, particularly on Black Friday. Explore more consumer attitudes and shopping trends going into the peak weekend.

The evolution of the 2017 holiday retail environment

Navigate the timeline below to see Deloitte's evolving analysis of the holiday retail season.

Thanksgiving holiday shopping trends

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. Retailers also benefit from the multitude of dazzled shoppers on a mission to clear their shopping lists.

Our pre-Thanksgiving pulse survey polled more than 1,200 consumers across the US to get a pulse check on their shopping strategy for the long Thanksgiving weekend that includes Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

This year we found that three-quarters (75 percent) of US consumers plan to shop over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Consumers are feeling rather generous this year. People surveyed plan to spend an average of $427 between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday, up from their intentions to spend $400 in last year’s survey. More than one-third (37 percent) of shoppers say they plan to spend more than they originally intended this holiday season. Clothing and accessories are the top items people plan to buy over the weekend, cited by 65 percent of respondents, followed by electronics (55 percent) and toys and hobby items (47 percent).

Spending plans: Almost nine in 10 shoppers expected to spend the same or more than earlier planned – with the bulk of the incremental budget going toward gifts

Black Friday fever

Nearly 8 in 10 (79 percent) of respondents say they’ll shop on Black Friday, either in-store or online. While online shopping continues to be a shopping destination of choice in other times throughout the year, on Black Friday, 70 percent of respondents plan to shop in-stores, and 47 percent plan to shop online. This number is down from 55 percent planning to shop online last year. The momentum in stores is expected to continue through the weekend, as 52 percent plan to shop in-store on Saturday, compared with 24 percent online, a drop from 36 percent in last year’s survey. On average though, shoppers expect to spend more than half (52 percent), or $220, of their holiday weekend budget online and 46 percent, averaging $196, in physical stores.

Black Friday: Shoppers expect the best promotions of the season

Online versus in-store

Online shopping is a draw for shoppers between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday. In fact, 85 percent of shoppers plan to shop in-store over the holiday weekend and 91 percent plan to cross off their lists online. Despite having so many online shoppers on Black Friday, Cyber Monday continues to be a peak shopping day online. Nearly three-quarters (72 percent) of respondents plan to shop online on Cyber Monday.

Traditional department stores are the number one physical store destination for the weekend, with 51 percent of shoppers plan to visit them, followed by mass merchants at 39 percent and electronics/office supply/computer stores at 38 percent.

Regardless of where people shop, many will rely on digital shopping tools for assistance. Nearly 4 in 10 (38 percent) expect to buy something online while in-store due to better pricing and/or price matching, and 36 percent say they’ll be influenced by deals from a mobile device while in-store over Thanksgiving weekend. Consumers also may not have much tolerance for website performance issues, as 46 percent said they’ll use another retailer rather than wait if an online site has technical problems.

Relatively strong in-store shopping activity expected between Saturday and Cyber Monday, along with focus on local businesses through Saturday. Cyber Monday will mark the peak for online shopping.

Early bird gets the good deals

Where will consumers be on Thanksgiving Day this year? More people will shop online (28 percent) than in-stores (25 percent) on Thanksgiving Day. Nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of those who plan to shop on Thanksgiving say it’s because they don’t want to miss the best deals.

Early-morning Black Friday shoppers will outspend others, as those shopping between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. plan to spend an average of $225. Those shopping at 6 a.m. expect to spend $147, followed by $161 between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m.

Shopping with a friend is always more fun so it is no surprise that socializing is a primary motivator for spending time in retail stores, as 64 percent plan to shop in-store with family or friends over the weekend. Nearly 4 in 10 (37 percent) people surveyed say they haven’t started any of their holiday shopping yet, and respondents say they’ve spent only 20 percent of their holiday shopping budget to date.

Rod Sides, vice chairman, Deloitte LLP, and US Retail, Wholesale and Distribution leader remarked,

Store retailers will have shoppers’ attention with the overall excitement of the day and tradition of shopping with friends and family. That’s a tremendous opportunity to elevate the customer experience and create a strong rapport to drive sales. It starts with the digital part of the shopping journey, delivering creative and personalized promotions and touchpoints that create inspiration before the holiday weekend. That follows with an in-store experience that delights with displays, merchandise, and seasonal atmosphere, along with services that make it easy for customers to find unique items and make quick transactions.

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