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Shoppers Sound The Death Knell For Black Friday

Early promotions dissipate impact

Years of holiday creep may have finally taken their toll on Black Friday.

According to a consumer poll commissioned by coupon site RetailMeNot, only 10 percent of shoppers believe that Black Friday savings are worth the wait.

Instead, fully 51 percent of consumers surveyed said they take advantage of deals throughout the year, regardless of major holiday sales, and 45 percent are always in deal-hunting mode.

Driving Black Friday’s dissolution is the ever-sooner starting gate for holiday sales, which hasn’t been lost on shoppers. Indeed, a whopping 85 percent of respondents said they expect retailer holiday promotions to begin prior to Black Friday, with more than half (54 percent) saying they expect to see these offers in the marketplace prior to October.

Despite the extended promotional calendar — which D&H Distributing sales senior VP Jeff Davis described as “50 Shades of Gray November” — RetailMeNot data shows that CE and IT discounts hit their peak from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday, and then into the first week of December, with average sales prices ranging from 38 to 40 percent off.

The poll also pointed to the continuing popularity of in-store shopping, although retailers should take note of the following findings to help encourage foot traffic:
• 88 percent of consumers are inclined to enter a mall or store this holiday season, but are looking for a good reason to do so;
• 44 percent of consumers said they would be motivated to shop in-store if they could get money back on their purchase;
• holiday sales would prompt 37 percent of consumers to shop in stores, while exclusive flash-sale deals (31 percent) and doorbuster offers (27 percent) would get the rest through the door;
• 24 percent said gift-wrapping services encourage them to shop in stores; and
• 16 percent of shoppers said that “good holiday music” encourages them to enter a store to shop.

The RetailMeNot surveys were conducted by Kelton Global Sept. 2-8 among 1,028 U.S. residents ages 18 and older, using an email invitation and an online survey.