Target Store Black Friday

Apparently, Black Friday is declining in its impact on holiday spending. According to PwC’s holiday outlook report, Black Friday is being “muted” by changing consumer behavior.

The report also found that shoppers plan to spend about $1,200 this year on gifts and items for themselves. The PwC data follows forecasts that vary widely, and show apparel sales coming in about flat this year.

PwC surveyed shoppers and found that “only 35 percent of consumers plan to shop on Black Friday this year — dropping a full 38.9 percent from 2015.” The researchers also found that 49 percent of shoppers said “they plan to finish their holiday shopping after Black Friday week.”

This compares to 19 percent of those polled who are shopping throughout Black Friday week and 10 percent who are shopping in “early November.” Six percent have either completed or planned to complete their shopping before Nov. 1.

“Although Thanksgiving and Black Friday still remain Pavlovian triggers for many consumers, shoppers don’t feel too pressured to ‘wrap’ things up just yet,” PwC said. “Especially in this age of dueling deals.”

Some of the shifts in holiday spending include more online shopping taking place on Thanksgiving Day. Other factors muting the impact of Black Friday include more sales throughout November as well as “the Amazon effect.”

“Amazon’s dominance and the success of Prime Day have changed consumer behavior,” authors of the report said. “Shoppers realize there are opportunities for deep discounts beyond Black Friday and Cyber Monday, essentially causing buying patterns to become more dispersed.”

In regard to expenditures, PwC found that consumers, on average, will dole out $1,284 this year, which includes “$720 on family, $344 on themselves and $123 on friends.” For pet owners, meanwhile, gifting will be about “$76 on their furry friends.”

PwC’s report follows forecasts for retail holiday sales to show a gain of between 3 and 5 percent — depending upon the optimism of the economists modeling the forecast. In apparel, retail analysts are seeing year-over-year holiday sales being flat to a slight gain — except for the ath-leisure segment.

Telsey Advisory Group is calling for ath-leisure and activewear to show a gain of 7 percent. Craig R. Johnson, president of Customer Growth Partners, is more bullish, but said the bright spot in performance wear isn’t enough to bolster total apparel sales.

“Although we’re predicting overall apparel sales to be up only in the low single digits, in the ath-leisure/performance wear sector we’re predicting a 12 percent year-over-year gain for holiday,” he told WWD. “Because the segment is small, less than 5 percent of the overall sector, even a solid double-digit increase, doesn’t move the needle much in total sales.”