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Not at Home for the Holidays

November 12, 2013

More Americans prefer shopping to giving thanks.

Forget the cranberry sauce, nix the mince meat and take a pass on the mashed potatoes. More Americans will leave the Thanksgiving table early this year and head to the mall. According to a new study by Accencture, 38% of shoppers said they are likely to shop on Thanksgiving Day this year, a day that until recently has not been part of the seasonal holiday shopping rush.

“Consumers voted with their feet on the subject of Thanksgiving Day shopping in 2012 and we expect to see even more stores throwing the doors open before midnight on Thanksgiving Day this year,” said Chris Donnelly, global managing director of Accenture’s Retail practice. "Increasingly shoppers want to shop at their favorite stores, whenever they want and however they want, and retailers have to decide how they are going to respond to this demand. In a season of almost permanent discounts, many stores have decided they need an event like a Thanksgiving Day opening to help generate excitement and an urgency to buy. For many consumers, Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday shopping has become a two-day ‘doorbuster’ bonanza.”
Here are some findings by Accenture:

• Of those shoppers planning to hit the stores on Thanksgiving, 41% said they will be out shopping between 6 p.m. Thanksgiving Day and 5 a.m. the next day – Black Friday – the more traditional start of the holiday shopping season.
• More than a third of Thanksgiving Day shoppers – 38% – expect to visit four or more stores.
• According to the survey, younger shoppers are the most likely to shop on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday this year: More than half (55%) of 18-24 year olds and 61% of 25-34 year olds said that they are likely to shop on Thanksgiving Day, compared to just 31% of 45-59 year olds; and 80% of 18-24 year olds and 70% of 25-34 year olds plan to shop on Black Friday, compared to 51% of 45-59 year olds.
• Women are more likely than men to be shopping during the Thanksgiving holiday: 42% of women expect to shop on Thanksgiving Day, compared to 31% of men; and 58%of women expect to shop on Black Friday, compared to 49% of men.
• The survey also indicates that the lure of Black Friday as a major shopping event is at its highest level in five years: 55% of consumers surveyed say they are likely to shop on the day after Thanksgiving, compared to 53% in 2012, 44% in 2011, 47% in 2010 and 52% in 2009.
• Although millennial consumers are often perceived to be predominantly online shoppers, 58% of the 18-24 year-old respondents who said they would be shopping on Thanksgiving Day expect to make most of their purchases in a physical store.  Interestingly, most of the 45-59 year olds who plan to shop on Thanksgiving, said they expect to make most of their holiday purchases online.
• Overall, more shoppers this year (30%) said they will do most of their Black Friday shopping online, compared to 25% in 2012.
• For Thanksgiving Day shopping, 28% of consumers plan to do most of their shopping at a store, compared to 26% who plan to do most of their shopping online.
• Discounts will continue to be a big motivator for shopping during the holiday weekend and throughout the season this year. Nearly half, 48%, said they believe the best discounts of the entire holiday season will be available on Thanksgiving, Black Friday or Cyber Monday – traditionally one of the busiest online shopping days of the year.
• However, 29% of 18-24 year olds surveyed, said that shopping on Thanksgiving Day is about being part of the excitement, compared to just 4% of the 45-59 year olds who share that opinion.
• Despite the appeal of Thanksgiving Day shopping for many of those surveyed, 41% said they will not be shopping on the holiday since they consider Thanksgiving to be a day for spending time with family.

More info: Accenture Holiday Survey 2013