Is Black Friday dead? New research from Accenture shows that U.S. consumers are less inclined to shop in stores on traditional peak holiday shopping days this year and more likely to search for and buy the best bargains online.
Accenture’s “11th Annual Holiday Shopping Survey” found that 52 percent of respondents said they are less likely to shop on Black Friday this year, with 50 percent less likely to shop on Thanksgiving and 42 percent less likely to shop on Cyber Monday.
Almost two-thirds — 64 percent — of those who said they don’t plan to shop on Black Friday cited the crowds of people competing for bargains as the reason.
Another reason for the expected drop in shopping during the peak holiday shopping days: year-round bargain buying. Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of consumers said they shop for holiday gifts throughout the year, with the rise of constant discounts like deal websites and Amazon Prime Day. In fact, more than four in 10 respondents (44 percent) cited the ability to get equally good discounts other days of the year as one reason they’re less inclined to shop on Black Friday.
In addition, consumers plan to do more than half (54 percent) of their holiday shopping, on average, from the comfort of their home this year rather than in person at brick-and-mortar stores (46 percent). Half of the survey respondents also said that a convenient shopping experience online, including easy check-out and purchase through mobile apps, will positively affect their holiday spending in 2017.
“Given the rise of constant discounts and promotions on sites such as Amazon, consumers are doing more of their holiday shopping year-round, and this is proving to be the biggest competitor to the traditional peak holiday shopping days,” said Jill Standish, senior managing director and head of Accenture’s retail practice. “Smart retailers are taking a longer-term view of the season. Rather than just striving to win new sales through ever-lower discounts, they instead see the holidays as an opportunity to define their purpose, engage in a way that is memorable and be clear about the role they will play in shoppers’ lives both practically and emotionally. Experiences that are distinct, memorable and worth sharing with others can be the foundation for a more-profitable, enduring and year-round relationship.”
Standish continued: “In addition, with the rising popularity of ‘experience’ gifts, competition for wallet-share is shifting from rivals in the retail industry to new competitors in other industries, such as travel. This makes it even more imperative for retailers who want to grow — or even just maintain — their share of wallet to enhance and improve their customers’ shopping experience, whether through improved technology or the addition of new services.”