CTA Sees ‘Record-Setting’ Black Friday Week

155 million Americans expected to shop
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A record-setting 91 million Americans — 37 percent — expect to purchase tech or tech accessories during Black Friday Week, according to the Consumer Technology Association (CTA).

In total, a record 155 million U.S. consumers plan to shop during Black Friday and the surrounding week (from the Monday before Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday, Nov. 23-30), with more than 70 percent of those shoppers planning to shop online, said CTA's “2015 Pre-Black Friday Report.”

"Black Friday is no longer just a one-day holiday exclusively centered on in-store shopping," said Shawn DuBravac, CTA's chief economist and research senior director. "Black Friday now spans the entire week, with online and mobile shopping playing an important role as consumers increasingly rely on tech to complete their holiday shopping."

The most popular day to shop online this year will be Cyber Monday, with 26 percent of consumers planning to shop on Nov. 30 — a jump of 6 percentage points from last year.

Black Friday will remain the most popular day for in-store shopping, with 25 percent of those surveyed planning to shop the day after Thanksgiving, Nov. 27 — a 3 percentage point decrease from last year. This finding continues a slow but steady decline in expected foot traffic on Black Friday over the past few years.

The use of mobile devices to help consumers shop and make purchases will be more pronounced than ever over the shopping week. More than half — 53 percent — of consumers expect to use a smartphone or tablet while shopping.

The report finds consumer shopping behavior is moving away from the traditional, in-store Black Friday experience as Americans shop more frequently online and via mobile throughout the Thanksgiving week, alter when they shop and visit fewer physical stores on Black Friday.

As the traditional Black Friday shopping day widens to include the surrounding week, more retailers have announced they will close on Thanksgiving Day. Fifteen million Americans (6 percent of U.S. adults) plan to shop in-store on Thanksgiving Day, a two percentage point decrease over last year.

Being closed on Thanksgiving Day is the new being open on Thanksgiving Day,” said DuBravac. "More than 40 retailers have announced they will remain closed on Thanksgiving Day, another nod to the evolving nature of Black Friday and the adjacent shopping days. With growth and expansion of the online channel, retailers are focusing less exclusively on achieving all of their sales solely through brick-and-mortar locations."

Along with the report, CTA released its forecast of the top 10 tech products consumers plan to purchase during Black Friday week:

1. Video game consoles — up from fifth spot last year

2. TVs — in second spot for the second consecutive year

3. Tablets — down from the first spot for the last two years

4. Laptops

5. Smartphones

6. Headphones

7. DVD/Blu-ray Disc players

8. Digital cameras

9. Digital toys of video game figurines

10. Smart watches

"Even a few years out from the next generation of video game consoles, these devices jumped to the top of the Black Friday list in advance of the important shopping period," said DuBravac. "Many families are still upgrading to the latest generation consoles, and it appears they will be using Black Friday and the surrounding shopping period to do so. We are also expecting strong interest in digital toys and smart watches as they rise in popularity and become hot items during the shopping week."

CTA's “2015 Pre-Black Friday Report” was designed and formulated by the Consumer Technology Association. It represents the findings of a quantitative study administered via telephone interview.

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