Washington, D.C. - Despite the rise in online and mobile shopping, more than 152 million consumers may visit brick-and-mortar stores over Black Friday weekend, up 27 percent from last year, a new poll shows.
The survey, conducted by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and BIGresearch, shows that 74 million people definitely plan to hit the stores Thanksgiving weekend, while another 77 million said they will do so if the bargains are worth braving the cold and the crowds.
But even if they aren't buying online, a significant number of those consumers are expected to use the web and mobile devices to track in-store promotions. Nearly one-quarter said they will seek out coupon websites like RetailMeNot.com and FatWallet.com; a third will specifically keep track of the email coupons they receive from retailers; 17.3 percent will monitor retailers' Facebook pages; and 11.3 percent will check out group buying sites like Groupon and LivingSocial.
The numbers are even higher for tablet-owning holiday shoppers: 21.3 percent said they will use their devices to seek out group buying sites and 31.2 percent plan to check out retailers' Facebook pages.
Accordingly, 84.2 percent of retailers will send an email to their customers about Black Friday deals, up from 80 percent last year, and nearly three-quarters (73.7 percent) will use their Facebook page to reach shoppers, up from the 57.1 percent in 2010, a separate BIGresearch poll shows. Many retailers will also utilize their website's home page (50 percent) and Twitter (57.9 percent) to announce and promote Black Friday deals, according to the survey, which was commissioned by Shop.org, the NRF's online arm.
"Social media will play a big role in how shoppers follow company sales announcements this holiday season," said Phil Rist, BIGresearch's executive VP, strategic initiatives. "From Facebook to Twitter and even blogs, â€˜social' retailers may be rewarded this season in terms of additional holiday sales."
Still, the largest percent of respondents (50.5 percent) will continue to scour advertising circulars to learn about Black Friday promotions and about a third will turn to retailers' TV commercials, the survey showed.
Merchants may also have a few more last-minute lures up their sleeves, suggested NRF president/CEO Matthew Shay. "Though many retailers are already touting select Black Friday ads, there's no doubt we'll all be blown away by what retailers still have in their bag of tricks for shoppers."