Frugality is expected to be the central focus for shoppers who say they want more for their money, while apparel remains the most popular item on shopping lists for holiday.
That was the key theme from the 10th annual Accenture Holiday Shopping Survey. About 44 percent of U.S. consumers said they plan to spend more than they did a year ago. But 72 percent said they would be enticed by promotions or coupons to shop at a store they haven’t shopped at in the last year.
In addition, 78 percent versus 69 percent in 2015 cited apparel as the most popular item on their shopping list, followed by gift cards at 74 percent, compared with 64 percent a year ago. Among those giving gift cards, 57 percent said restaurants were the most popular gift-card choice. About two-thirds, or 65 percent, plan to shop on Black Friday, with 36 percent stating they expect to get the best deals that day. A smaller percentage at 47 percent said they likely would shop on Thanksgiving Day, with 72 percent of those respondents saying they would do their shopping online, up from 60 percent in 2015. Further, the number of people who said they plan to shop on Cyber Monday rose 11 percent to 57 percent.
Another key takeaway from this year’s study is that 42 percent said they rarely or never expect to pay full price for an item during the holiday season. Further, an additional two-thirds, or 67 percent, said they would purchase items from different stores or web sites to get the lowest price. And to get the best price, consumers said they are willing to give more to get more. Fifty-four percent said they are open to sharing personal information and shopping preferences with retailers in order to receive personalized offers — compared with 51 percent last year and 33 percent in 2014. Coupons and loyalty card points are the two most cited by respondents as tools that would impact their shopping decisions. Also, the majority of those surveyed, or 84 percent, said they check Amazon before looking or buying elsewhere.
Jill Standish, senior managing director of retail at Accenture, said, “The good news is that U.S. consumers plan to spend more and are increasingly willing to share personal information to receive offers, but they remain focused on frugal bargain hunting.” Standish said that retailers who learn all they can about their customers can use the insights to provide a personalized shopping experience and provide timely deals to their customer base.
Part of the frugality mind-set includes researching online and in-store before deciding on a purchase. More than four in five, or 81 percent, of those surveyed said they plan to participate in webrooming, or going online to research and then going to a store for the purchase. The same 81 percent said they also plan to participate in showrooming, visiting a store to check on a product and then going online to purchase the item.
Online shopping grew slightly, with 50 percent saying they expect to make the majority of their purchases through a web site. Those who said they prefer shopping via bricks-and-mortar slipped to 43 percent compared with 48 percent last year. Also, 48 percent said they will buy online and ship to a store for pickup, up from 36 percent last year.
The respondents at 62 percent said shipping costs was the biggest hurdle to shopping online, while 55 percent said they didn’t like not being able to touch the product. For those who shop in a store, the biggest frustration at 62 percent was long lines or crowds.