Black Friday shoppers opt for online sales
Yes, Black Friday is expected to break records again this year, but it will do so with shorter lines and less chaos.
When you combine the rise of online shopping, the push to release deals earlier or extend them, and an emerging demand to experience more of the fun of shopping, you get a Black Friday that hauls in more money with less foot traffic. At least that’s what PricewaterhouseCoopers’ 2017 Holiday Outlook research indicates.
The study found the proportion of consumers planning to visit the shops on Black Friday has declined from 59% in 2015 to 51% in 2016, and make up just 35% of shoppers in 2017. A big reason for this is almost one third (30%) of Americans now do most of their Black Friday shopping online. Another third (30%) will mix it up and do some online and some in stores, while less than one in five (19%) plan to stick to in-store deals only.
Nevertheless, a huge chunk of the population (83%) is ready to spend as much or more than they did last year, with the average spend total rising (6%) to $1,189 during the popular holiday season. PricewaterhouseCoopers noted that you can expect high-income shoppers to lead the way and our own survey of who is set to spend what revealed that more men than women feel that shopping money is burning a hole in their pockets.
On average, spending money will go towards buying stuff for personal use ($360), for family members ($680) and for friends ($95). The stuff the average person buys is predominantly holiday gifts ($661), travel ($336) and entertainment ($192). While technology gets a lot of focus in the hype leading up to Black Friday, the research data shows more than half (57%) of gift money will be spent on apparel, followed by half (51%) on gift cards, two-fifths (43%) on toys, one-third (33%) on personal electronics and a smaller proportion (29%) on accessories.
The driving force for all that Black Friday spending continues to be low prices. The survey found almost two thirds (63%) of consumers valued price above all else. Quality (32%) and free shipping (30%) were less vital.
At the same time, a new trend is emerging. More Thanksgiving Day, all-weekend or even all-month sales are taking the pressure off the early morning hours of Black Friday, and younger shoppers are driving traffic away from big stores to smaller, specialty and independent stores in search of more enjoyable shopping experiences.
Younger generations are also pushing smartphone shopping to higher levels than laptop and desktop buying.
“Retailers understand the imperative to create a community of commerce – a welcoming environment where shoppers enjoy spending their time as much as they enjoy spending their money,” the report stated.