Accenture: Holiday gift purchases expected to average $718

Accenture’s annual Holiday Shopping Survey of consumers looking at spending and gift plans for this season has retailers’ ears buzzing. 25% of U.S. consumers plans to spend more on holiday shopping this year compared to 20% in 2013, and spending on holiday gifts is expected to average $718, according to the annual holiday shopping survey. The survey also took a closer look at shopping happening in-store vs. online, and a notable interest in mobile tools while shopping.

The report contains stats from a variety of areas including showrooming and webrooming habits; Black Friday and Thanksgiving shopping plans; what consumers are buying this year (including wearable technology); the continued hunt for discounts, concerns over shipping and delivery timeliness, and factors affecting spending decisions this year.


Trends highlighted by the survey:

Discount Retailers Prevail, Department Stores Coming up Strong

  • Discount retailers continue to be the top destination for shoppers this holiday season 71%
  • 58% of respondents said they will shop at online-only retailers, compared to 50% in 2013 and 44% in 2012
  • 47% of consumers plan to buy gifts at department stores this year

 The Holiday Shopping List

  •  Gift cards , apparel and toys top consumers’ holiday shopping lists this year.
  • In the electronics category, 13% of respondents plan to buy wearable technology such as fitness bands, 24% plan to buy home electronics such as a TV or Blu-ray player, 14% plan to buy smartphones and 13% plan to buy tablets.

More Trends on Online Shopping and Retailers’ Holiday Programs

  •  More than half of shoppers plan to spend 50% or more of their total holiday gift dollars online.
  • Free shipping is still the #1 incentive for buying holiday gifts online, followed by finding products that are discounted compared to in-store prices and avoiding the crowds and long check-out lines.
  • If a retailer sells products both online and in physical stores, consumers prefer to shop online in order to avoid the crowds and to shop around for the best deals; they prefer a physical store in order to touch and feel a product before they buy it.

 Thanksgiving and Black Friday Shopping Plans

  •  Of the 61% of consumers planning to shop in a physical store on Thanksgiving or Black Friday, the majority 56% are planning to go to three or more stores.
  •  38% percent of shoppers would shop in-store on Black Friday to take advantage of doorbuster deals.
  • 49% believe that the best deals of the season are on Thanksgiving, Black Friday or Cyber Monday.


Accenture conducted an online survey using a representative sample of 500 U.S. consumers in September 2014.


Retailers’ Black Friday Checklist [INFOGRAPHIC]

For most retailers, Black Friday (and the days that follow) is the do-or-die time of the season to boost sales and capitalize on months of campaign planning and execution. The folks over at Firefly Store Solutions created a great infographic outlining the keys to success for retailers to make the most of this hectic shopping holiday.

From their website:

Black Friday is right around the corner and retailers are gearing up for the kind of foot traffic that will turn their balance sheet from red to black. If last year’s numbers are any indication, sales should exceed 60 billion dollars in 2013. Black Friday is crucial to a store’s success and it is imperative that every independent retailer take full advantage of this once-a-year opportunity.

firefly store solutions black Friday checklist
Infographic by Firefly Store Solutions.

holiday 2012 shopper marketing

10 Big Retail Trends from the 2012 Holiday Shopping Season

What did the 2012 holidays teach us about the current state of shoppers—and, of course, the places where they shop? Here are 10 notable trends.

holiday 2012 shopper marketing

The Expansion of Black Friday—and the Entire Season
Even though it has caused a backlash among certain consumersretailers have concluded that the formula for increasing seasonal sales totals is mostly based on increasing holiday promotions, deals, and store hours—hours that now include Thanksgiving night. Not only is it standard for stores to open by 8 p.m. or 9 p.m. on Turkey Day, but the holiday season now basically overlaps with the back-to-school shopping period, with promos and Christmas displays popping up in early September.

Soaring Online Sales, So-So In-Store Sales 
As projected, it’s been yet another very strong season for e-commerce. Online spending was up sharply on Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday alike (increasing 17% or more compared to corresponding days in 2011), and consumers hardly tired of online shopping in the weeks that followed. During the week of “Green Monday” (second Monday in December), four separate days crossed the $1 billion mark for online sales, according to comScore, resulting in the highest-ever sales total over a five-day stretch.

Meanwhile, spending in physical stores was down nearly 2% on Black Friday, and after several sluggish weeks of sales, some experts lowered projections for holiday spending during the 2012 season.

Brick-and-Mortar and Online (Try to) Become One
If there’s one dominant trend in retail lately, it’s the utter blurring of online and offline shopping. For quite a while, shoppers have viewed the two modes of transaction as basically interchangeable. Retailers with a presence on the web and in real stores seem to have finally embraced the idea that both segments must be partners sending the same message to shoppers. In the past, it was almost as if the people running a retailer’s website had no contact with the people running the actual stores. Prices varied frequently, and often, products sold online weren’t sold in stores, and vice versa, leading to confused, frustrated shoppers. Early on, a retailer’s presence in social media might have come as a result of a few ambitious young interns, if there was a presence at all. Today, on the other hand, retailers and analysts talk nonstop about the need to combine online and offline sales efforts, with phrases like “multiscreen shopper,” “omnichannel shopping,” and “cross-platform marketing” popping up regularly.

Retailers understand that “showrooming” is commonplace, and that it’s not necessarily a bad thing to encourage a combined online-offline shopping experience. In fact, according to one survey, 91% of consumers wound up in a store because of something they saw online, and 77% admit to researching products while inside stores. Retailers have no choice but to embrace the “omnichannel” shopper. While they’re actively trying to lure shoppers into physical stores with deals and promotions, they’re simultaneously ramping up efforts to draw consumers to their websites. The results have boosted online sales, but because of the challenges of creating a truly unified online-offline experience, there remain instances of consumer frustration due to confusion over what is sold where, canceled orders, price variations between the web and brick-and-mortar, and more. This remains a work in progress.

More Shipping Deals—Speedy, Free, You Name It
In the same way that 30% or 40% off has become the starting point for getting shoppers’ attention during the holidays, consumers now often demand free shipping in order to consider an online purchase. Accordingly, free shipping has become almost universal during the holidays, and throughout the year really.

To meet the needs of shoppers, retailers provided free shipping as late as December 22 with guaranteed delivery by Christmas Eve. For procrastinators or the merely impatient, sites also increased the possibilities of same-day delivery. The message being sent to shoppers is this: Any way you want to make a purchase, we’re going to help you make that purchase.

More and More “Leaked” Black Friday Ads
In the past, retailers used to vigilantly protect their Black Friday prices and ads from making their way to the public eye too early. The thinking was that if consumers saw, say, a bigtime Black Friday deal on a laptop, they sure as heck wouldn’t buy that laptop the weekend before Black Friday, when it was double the price. Lately, though, retailers seem to be embracing the idea that there’s little downside to earlier publicity—and just plain more of it—for sales. While some stores are coy about how their ads get “leaked” well in advance, many large chains are deciding to simply publicize their Black Friday prices well before Black Friday to get shoppers excited and help draw them in during before, during, and after the biggest shopping days.

Price Matching Crosses the Digital Line
During the holidays, many retailers have gotten in the habit of promising to match the officially advertised prices listed by their competitors in weakly circulars. Walmart even matches prices year-round. But traditionally, the guarantees have come with a large caveat: They’re limited only to prices offered in brick-and-mortar stores, meaning they wouldn’t match online prices, including those of the company that’s arguably become the toughest competitor in the business, Amazon. This season, though, for the first time ever, Target and Best Buy offered to match online competitor pricesPayPal and certain credit cards offered expansive price-matching services as well, giving shoppers more options than ever to assure that they wouldn’t wind up paying too much.

[via TIME]


Holiday Shopping, Shopper marketing, holiday 2012

66 Million Have Yet To Begin Their Holiday Shopping

Black Friday weekend and Cyber Monday may have seen record-high sales this year, but 36 percent of Americans who say they plan to give gifts have yet do any holiday shopping at all, according to the latest Consumer Reports Holiday Poll. Of those who have begun shopping, 42 percent are either three-quarters finished or finished completely (9 percent), while 58 percent said they were no more than halfway done.

Holiday Shopping, Shopper marketing, holiday 2012

The full results of the Consumer Reports Holiday Poll are available at

When asked where they’d done their holiday shopping this year more Americans said they had patronized mass merchandisers like Wal-Mart and Target (55 percent) than shopped online for gifts (39 percent).  Thirty-two percent have shopped at department stores like Macy’s, Bullocks, Sears, and JCPenney, while 28 percent have shopped at retail chain stores like Toys “R” Us, Best Buy, or Gap.

The Consumer Reports Holiday Poll also revealed that while more Americans have shopped for holiday gifts at mass merchandisers, bargains can be found online:  28 percent who have shopped at more than one type of retailer said they’re finding the best deals online, on par with the 26 percent who found their best deals at mass merchandisers. Only 14 percent of shoppers said department stores have the best deals.

“Our poll revealed that Americans have plenty of shopping left to do and are generally enjoying the holiday season so far,” said Tod Marks, Consumer Reports senior editor and resident shopping expert. “However, they are also watching their dollars very closely and just as in years past, they’re looking for bargains.”

Americans plan to spend a median of $483 on gifts this holiday season, according to the Consumer Reports Holiday Poll. But when asked if they were concerned about limiting their expenses, 81 percent of Americans said they were at least somewhat concerned, including 30 percent who are very concerned. The following is a list of things they said they plan to do differently this holiday season to save money:

  • Give less expensive gifts (55 percent)
  • Be more active in seeking out sales and discount coupons (46 percent)
  • Give gifts to fewer people (38 percent)
  • Agree on more limited gift-giving arrangements within family or group of friends (e.g., Secret Santa, gift exchange) (29 percent)
  • Limit online shopping to websites that offer free shipping (23 percent)
  • Give homemade or other creative gifts instead of store-bought gifts (21 percent)
  • Limit or cut down on holiday travel (19 percent)
  • Send holiday cards to fewer people (16 percent)

When it comes to deciding what gifts to give, 65 percent of Americans said they simply buy what the person they’re shopping for requested. Four-in-ten rely on advice from friends or family, while one in five get ideas from ads or commercials, and the same proportion consult customer or user reviews or ratings. Only 5 percent of holiday shoppers get their gift ideas from salespeople.

[via MultiChannel Merchant]


Black Friday, Holiday 2012

Black Friday Weekend Sales Climb 12.8% Over 2011

Stores opening in the wee small hours of Black Friday morning (plus a few pushing back into Thanksgiving evening) may have stolen some of the thunder from Black Friday itself, but the weekend as a whole gave retailers plenty of reasons to smile. Total spending in stores and online is estimated at $59.1 billion, a healthy 12.8% increase over the $52.4 billion spent during the same period in 2011.

Black Friday, Holiday 2012

According to a survey by BIGinsight for the National Retail Federation, 247 million U.S. shoppers visited stores and websites over the holiday weekend, compared to 226 million in 2011. Shoppers spent on average $423, 6.3% more than the $398 they shelled out last year. On Thanksgiving Day, 35 million shoppers visited the stores that were open that day or shopped online, compared to 29 million who did so in 2011.

Foot traffic, as measured by ShopperTrak, also increased on Black Friday, rising 3.5% to reach 307.67 million store visits.

There’s also further evidence that the concept of “Cyber Monday” as a discrete day for online shopping is being inexorably dragged toward the Trash Bin icon. E-commerce sales were strong over the entire holiday weekend, and in fact have been showing double-digit increases over last year for the entire month of November.

According to comScore, online sales on Black Friday itself were $1.042 billion, 26% higher than the same day in 2011. Apparently not everyone was cooking turkey, eating and watching football on Thanksgiving: enough people were shopping to ring up $633 million in online sales, a 32% jump over last year. For the full November 1-23 period, $13.7 billion in online sales represents a 16% climb over the $11.8 billion sold during the same period in 2011.

In an exact repeat of 2011, the most-visited sites, according to comScore, were:
1) Amazon
2) Walmart
3) Best Buy
4) Target
5) Apple

The Chase Holiday Pulse reported a Black Friday online sales increase this year, but “only” 15.2% higher than sales for Black Friday 2011. Different tracking firms using different methodologies account for some of these disparities, but virtually all the reports show solid-to-spectacular results for 2012.

[via RIS News]

Black Friday, VIP Service, Shopper Marketing

Malls to offer VIP perks to lure more Black Friday shoppers

Black Friday shoppers at certain malls will get the VIP treatment as more retail establishments seek to offer a “white glove” experience to those willing to pay for a reprieve from the shopping day’s typical madness.

Black Friday, VIP Service, Shopper Marketing

According to, malls are feeling the pressure to increase their services as fewer holiday shoppers are braving brick-and-mortar stores. Also, many stores are offering the same types of Black Friday deals online that they’re offering in stores, giving shoppers less incentive to drive to the mall, the article reported.

VIP shopping will vary from mall to mall, but could include such perks as survival kits of water and energy bars, child care centers, reserved parking spaces, valet parking, lounge areas with refreshments, coat checks, package holding areas and security escorts to vehicles.

Black Friday Holiday Shopping

Petitioners plead with retailers to stop ‘Black Friday creep’

Target, Walmart, Kohl’s and Sears are among the long list of retailers facing a consumer backlash on over “Black Friday creep” following Walmart’s announcement yesterday that it would open its doors at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving evening.

Black Friday Holiday Shopping

In the past week, more than 20 new petitions have been created on calling on retailers to allow families to spend Thanksgiving together and stick to Black Friday opening times.

Last November, more than 200,000 people joined Target employee Anthony Hardwick’s petition calling on Target to save Thanksgiving for its employees, their families and consumers by opening on Black Friday instead of on Thanksgiving itself. In addition to receiving national media coverage, Hardwick’s petition inspired more than 150 other petitions asking major retailers to save Thanksgiving and put employees and families first.


ShopperTrak names 10 busiest shopping days of coming holiday season

Black Friday will be the single biggest sales and foot traffic day of this holiday season, followed by Saturday, Dec. 22, according to ShopperTrak, the world’s largest counter and analyzer of retail foot traffic. With the greatest possible number of shopping days — 32 — lying between Black Friday and Christmas this year, ShopperTrak predicts that national retail sales will rise 3.3% (over last year) during the peak holiday shopping months of November and December; retail foot traffic will increase 2.8%.


“Those 32 days provide extra time for consumers to shop more frequently and to visit more stores during the holidays,” said Bill Martin, ShopperTrak founder. “But retailers must prepare to capitalize on the holiday opportunity while managing the increase in operating costs that go hand-in-hand with extended store hours on more shopping days.

The following are ShopperTrak’s forecasted busiest holiday sales days:

  1. Friday, Nov. 23 (Black Friday)
  2. Saturday, Dec. 22 (Super Saturday)
  3. Saturday, Dec. 15
  4. Friday, Dec. 21
  5. Sunday, Dec. 23
  6. Saturday, Dec. 8
  7. Wednesday, Dec. 26 (Day after Christmas)
  8. Saturday, Nov. 24 (Black Saturday)
  9. Thursday, Dec. 20
  10. Saturday, Dec. 29

Central to this year’s increased retail foot traffic and sales are the two extra weekends in the holiday season that result from Christmas falling on a Tuesday. One “extra” weekend will occur between Thanksgiving and Christmas; the second will fall between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Weekends are vital to retailing, as seven of the Top 10 retail traffic days and six of the Top 10 sales days will fall on the six weekends between Nov. 23 (Black Friday) and Dec. 31.

[via Chain Store Age]

Blake Lively Apple Store Opening, Grand Central

Apple’s retail tech can notice shoppers when they arrive

Blake Lively Apple Store Opening, Grand Central

Ever wonder how Apple employees know you need help or are there to pick up an order? Apple employees now have a way to track you in the store. On Black Friday, New York Times reporter Brian X. Chen took a closer look at a customer tracking system Apple has been using “for a few weeks.” It’s an interesting look at how Apple is using its own technology to improve and expedite the retail shopping experience.


The system is powered by an internal application running on an employee’s iPod touch. A customer walking into the store can use the Apple Store app to alert employees they have arrived to pick up their order. The customer’s iOS device uses GPS to locate them and sends the alert when they enter the store. When an employee receives an alert, their iPod touch will display the location of the customer on a map of the store.

A similar system was already being used for customers with product questions. Employees would be alerted when you asked for assistance using the iPad demo machines. The iPod-based system is meant to improve the shopping experience for customers. Says Apple employee Diego Aguirre, “We don’t want to feel like we’re hassling our customers to shop. We want them to feel at home.” It also lets employees quickly help those customers who need assistance.