Nearly a third of Americans still view Black Friday as the best retail deal day, but many aren’t sure if they’ll shop then. These are among the findings of a US Holiday Shopping Report conducted by marketing consulting firm Simon-Kucher & Partners and market research institute Dynata.
Black Friday still beats Amazon Prime Day
The study reveals that 32% of consumers think Black Friday has the best shopping deals and 16% view Cyber Monday as the best opportunity for deals, compared to only 11% for Amazon Prime Day. Yet the study suggests a 25% increase in the number of shoppers who have not yet decided or are not planning to shop either event as compared to last year.
But good news for marketers: Those who do shop the special days are more likely to be influenced by promotions than to stick to a list. Overall, 78% of consumers say they’ll browse available deals, while only 51% will look for specific products. And about 6% more shoppers than last year won’t plan shopping lists in advance. The majority of those who will pre-plan lists will do so one to two weeks before the events.
“With the pandemic leaving consumers pessimistic about their financial outlook, consumers are wary of committing to spending what discretionary income they have left,” says Hubert Paul, director at Simon-Kucher. “While this means retailers need to be even sharper on their promotions, there could be significant cross-sell opportunities as consumers are browsing across categories they might not primarily be considering.”
With more browsing comes the expectation of more deals – 52% of consumers expect Black Friday discounts of 25 to 50% off, whereas last year, only 44% of consumers expected discounts this high. For Cyber Monday, 21% of consumers expect discounts of more than 50% off, compared to only 12% of consumers last year.
Spending may not change much
Yet nearly 70% of consumers plan to spend the same amount as last year or more. More than 80% of Black Friday and Cyber Monday shoppers plan to spend $50 or more, while more than 30% expect to spend $200 or more.
“It might not be all doom and gloom for retailers,” says Paul. “Strategically engaging and connecting with consumers with messages that resonate can still lead to similar results as last year, albeit requiring more consumers to spend to offset the higher discounts.”
Unsurprisingly, many consumers will turn to alternatives to in-store shopping this holiday season. While 16% of respondents will solely rely on brick-and-mortar stores for their shopping, more than 30% will shop exclusively online, and 6% will take advantage of curbside pickup.
With an increase in online shopping, consumers will have to contend with increased shipping costs, thanks to holiday surcharges and fees expected to come from carriers such as FedEx, UPS, and USPS. When asked how they would prefer retailers mitigate these costs, consumers said their top preferences are 1) to lessen the shipping speed on “free shipping”, 2) the option to ship to store/curbside pickup, and 3) increasing the minimum purchase to qualify for free shipping.
“It’s a surprise to no one that many consumers will be opting to shop from the comfort and – thanks to a global pandemic – safety of their own homes this year,” says Paul. “However, consumers are also particularly sensitive to ‘unnecessary spending’ as a result of the economic crisis, so shipping costs are not something they’re going to want to pay more for. It will be critical for retailers to understand the options they have when it comes to offsetting these costs, how to do so with minimal financial impact to their business, and finally, how to appropriately communicate these changes to their customers.”
The study was based on a representative sample of more than 1,000 consumers across the U.S.