Retailers prepare: 40% of U.S. consumers plan to spend more on their holiday shopping this year, marking a substantial upturn from the 25% that wanted to increase spending in 2014, according to research from Accenture.
The Accenture Holiday Shopping Survey, which gathered responses from more than 1,500 U.S. consumers in September and October 2015, does indicate that consumers are still looking for good deals during their shopping trips. As many as 87% of shoppers say they are typically persuaded by discounts of 20% or more to purchase an items, with 23% being persuaded by discounts of just 20% to 29%. Up to 35% percent of these shoppers believe Black Friday sales will offer the best discounts, while 20% believe Cyber Monday will offer the best deals.
As far as when these consumers plan to shop, the survey indicated that 50% are likely to make purchases on Thanksgiving Day, up from 45% in 2014. The same number of consumers (63%) plan to shop on Black Friday as they did last year.
Regardless of which day they plan for shopping during the holiday weekend, consumers are split between online shopping or shopping in-store. When it comes to the brick-and-mortar environment, consumers consider three major factors that enhance their shopping experience:
In-store promotions (cited by 55%);
The ability to touch, feel and see items in person (46%); and
Seamless operations such as short lines and quick service (42%).
“With consumers willing to spend more on holiday purchases again this year, this holiday season represents a strong opportunity for retailers,” said Patricia Walker, Senior Managing Director of Products and North America Retail Practice Lead at Accenture. “However, in order to capitalize on the opportunity, retailers need to focus on offering a seamless experience for shoppers who will be shopping both online and in-store.”
While brick-and-mortar will get its fair share of traction this holiday season, e-Commerce appears to be the preferred shopping option for 54% of consumers whenever a retailer has a presence in both channels. However, 10% of respondents say they would use a particular channel depending on the product they purchase.
Social media also influences 61% of consumers’ shopping habits over the holidays. These shoppers cited two major reasons for social media’s influence: the ability to see which items are trending in real time (cited by 46%), and feeling that the ads and offers are highly relevant to them (cited by 33%).
“Retail is everywhere, and no longer about a location or a channel,” Walker said. “Today’s on-the-go nature of consumers has influenced shifts in channel preferences. While we know consumers value content and social media that reflects their lifestyles, our research shows us that social media has very little influence on the purchasing decisions of those aged 45 and above. The younger shoppers who are influenced by social media mostly like to see what’s trending and what others are buying.”
Consumers Gain Trust In Sharing Personal Information
Regardless of when and where consumers are shopping during the holiday season, they are becoming more open to the idea of sharing information to receive personalized offers. The survey showed that 51% are now willing to share personal information with retailers, rising from only 33% in 2014. Approximately one quarter (24%) are unsure and 25% are unlikely to share personal information.
Although shoppers are more willing to share their personal information than in years past, retailers need to provide compelling reasons for them to do so. As many as 72% of respondents revealed that discounts and coupons are the most popular catalysts to entice them to provide this information. On the other hand, only 23% of consumers feel rebate schemes are appealing enough to reveal personal details.
“What we see is that consumers are prepared to share personal information in order to get personalized benefits,” Walker said. “Fifty-six percent of respondents prefer discounts or deals to be proactively sent to them, with those aged 18 to 35 wanting these discounts to be highly personalized and relevant. For retailers, it is important that they strike the right balance in the customer relationship to create trust, engagement, affinity, desire and delight. Retailers must be able to adapt their approach to address the privacy needs of each individual customer.”