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Top retail holiday trends: holiday shopping survey results 2013

Consumers, expected to spend more, are still lured by Black Friday, but they seek discounts both in store and online.

Overview

Accenture conducted an online survey of 500 US consumers in September 2013. Based on their response, spending is expected to increase, consumers will be laser focused on discounts. While many plan to be finished with their retail shopping by the end of November, they’ll still be in the stores and online comparing prices (and aren’t afraid to return if they find a better deal).

The appeal of shopping on Black Friday is still alive and well. In fact, it’s the highest in 5 years. With retailers opening doors early on Thanksgiving, many are starting to consider this as “part of the event.” Though almost half (41 percent) still consider this a time to spend with family and won’t be shopping.

Read the news release in the Accenture Newsroom.

Key Findings

After a tough year, consumers want to treat themselves and their families this holiday season. With an increase in discretionary income, shoppers will still be “sensible.” Some of the highlights of this year’s results include:

  • Shoppers will be spending more—up 11 percent in total dollars compared to 2012 ($646 versus $582); 62 percent plan to spend the same; 20 percent will spend more than last year—with 20 percent of those planning to spend $500 more.

  • Consumers will be shopping across channels, with just as many people planning to “web room,” browsing online and then going to a store to buy, as they will “showroom,” browsing at a store and then going online to find a better deal. For example, consumers will be comparing prices on their mobile phones while in store and they’ll be making purchases online, but picking up in store to avoid shipping costs.

  • Gift cards still No. 1 on consumer’s shopping list—primarily purchased at the supermarket—with 40 percent for discount retailers and 34 percent for restaurants.

  • Black Friday is still a huge lure—in fact, at a 5-year high. Forty-one percent indicated that they will be out shopping between 6 p.m. Thanksgiving Day and 5 a.m. on Black Friday. With “door busters” being the main draw.

While most people will still use their PC to make online purchases, there is an increase in the use of tablet and smartphones to make purchases. Though with the cost-conscious shoppers, they’ll primarily be shopping at discount stores and looking for discounts upward of 30 percent throughout the season.

Analysis

As the holiday shopping season approaches, retailers must be able to satisfy American consumers who, more than ever, want to shop on their terms and expect every step in the journey to be a seamless one, whether they are online, shopping in a store or using their phones.

The list of consumer expectations of how they should be able to shop, from finding the same prices and promotions in a store as they do online to buying online and returning to a store, is getting longer every day. Increasingly, holiday-season winners will be defined by their ability to deliver a seamless experience to the consumer.