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US Consumers Look Forward To Holiday Shopping

January 31, 2013

By the slimmest majority (51%), US consumers say they have already made their holiday shopping plans this year and will be buying gifts with cash that they have set aside specifically for the holidays, according to Accenture’s annual consumer holiday shopping study.

The Accenture Holiday Shopping Survey shows that consumers are expected to spend an average of $582 on holiday shopping this season, and 23% plan to spend more than $750. Moreover, 52% expect to increase their spending by $250 or more. However, only 5% say they expect to be “extravagant” in their holiday shopping, and only 8% said they would “splurge.”

This year’s survey also found that half (52%) of consumers would be willing to shop online on Thanksgiving Day if retailers offer discounts, and 53% plan to shop on Black Friday, which would reverse a three-year trend of declining interest indicated by Accenture’s previous surveys. In 2011, the survey showed that only 44% of respondents were interested in shopping on Black Friday, down from 47% in 2010 and 52% in 2009.

“The U.S. consumer refuses to be counted out and is entering this holiday season better prepared and more willing to open his or her wallet,” said Chris Donnelly, managing director of Accenture’s retail practice. “Self-sacrificing will be down and spending will be slightly up, however, our research also shows that shoppers will remain disciplined in their spending. They will have a desire to maximize the value of their dollar and a hunger for discounts, which will put pressure on retailers’ profits and margins. Retailers need to focus on creating in-store excitement, providing standout products and services, and delivering a seamless experience regardless of which shopping channel the customer uses.”

The majority of shoppers (56%) say they are likely to participate in “showrooming” this holiday season, which means that after seeing a product in a physical store, they would search online for the best price and then purchase online.

Accenture’s survey offers evidence that pressure on consumers’ finances may be easing as fewer people are planning to cut back on spending for themselves (40%, compared to 46% in 2011 and 52% in 2010). Further, out of the 63% of consumers who expect to spend the same on their holiday shopping this year, the survey indicates a more positive outlook than last year. Also, fewer consumers have concerns about the economy (23%, compared to 30% in 2011). Half (51%) say they will be paying for their holiday shopping with cash put aside for that purpose, compared to 45% in 2011.

More info: www.accenture.com
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