News Byte: Study Predicts Best Black Friday in Five Years

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Six fewer shopping days mean faster shopping.
Six fewer shopping days mean faster shopping.

Plan for the biggest Black Friday in five years, as 55% of people said they would be taking part in the post-Thanksgiving shop fest, according to Accenture's Annual Holiday Shopping Survey. That compares with 53% last year and 43% in 2011.

Accenture's online survey of a representative sample of 500 consumers found that, on average, they have budgeted $646 to spend on gifts this holiday season, an 11% increase from last year. They also indicated they would be looser with their purse strings than they have been in recent years. Forty-six percent said they are likely to overspend their budgets, compared to only 34% who said so last year.

While 63% said they would partake in showrooming—checking out merchandise in stores before buying online—more people said they would be “webrooming,” or browsing online and completing transactions in stores.

“The average dollar spend is trending up, and we are seeing a consumer mindset shifting from cautious to sensible, which is good news for retailers,” says Chris Donnelly, global managing director of Accenture's retail practice, who predicts that shoppers will spend early and often with six fewer post-Thanksgiving shopping days than they had last year.

Other survey highlights:

  • Deals rule: 94% said discounts would play a key role in purchase decisions, up from 84% in 2012. More than 60% said they'd require a minimum 30% off.

  • 41% of shoppers plan to be out between 6 p.m. and 5 a.m. on Thanksgiving/Black Friday.

  • 42% percent of consumers plan to spend at least half of their budgets online, though 36% said they would be looking to take advantage of store-focused services such as in-store pickup following online purchase.

  • Gift cards remain the top list item, followed by apparel, toys, personal electronics, and home electronics.

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