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Consumers less likely to shop retail stores this Black Friday

Survey finds consumers are more likely to shop online -- and not just on peak shopping days

Photo (c) vgajic - Getty Images
Instead of waking up early to fight the crowds for deals on Black Friday, new research finds more consumers will be staying home this year. 

According to a survey conducted by Accenture Consulting, slightly more than half (52 percent) of shoppers said they are less likely to shop on Black Friday this year, and 42 percent were less likely to shop Cyber Monday compared to previous years. 

Nearly two-thirds of shoppers polled (64 percent) cited crowds are their top reason for avoiding Black Friday shopping. For others, the idea of bargain-hunting outside the home may not seem logical in an age where it’s possible to score great deals on gifts year round.

Age of Amazon

Shoppers plan to do more than half of their holiday shopping from the comfort of their home computer. The expected drop in shopping during the peak holiday shopping days is likely due to the availability of deals and discounts available online 24/7, the study suggested.

Nearly two-thirds of consumers (64 percent) said they shop for holiday gifts throughout the year, taking advantage of discounts available on deal websites. More than four in 10 respondents (44 percent) believed they could get equally good discounts other days of the year, like Amazon Prime day. 

“Given the rise of constant discounts and promotions on sites such as Amazon, consumers are doing more of their holiday shopping year-round, and this is proving to be the biggest competitor to the traditional peak holiday shopping days,” said Jill Standish, senior managing director and head of Accenture’s retail practice. 

Spending less

Consumers who do brave the crowds on Black Friday may be somewhat more frugal this year compared to previous years, likely due to the state of their finances. The study found that the number of consumers who said they plan to spend more this year dropped by 11 percent. 

Fueling consumers’ frugality may be the fact that just 29 percent of respondents said they were optimistic about their financial situation coming into the holiday period, compared with 34 percent last year.

Additionally, shoppers will do their homework before parting with their money to buy holiday gifts. More than four in five shoppers (84 percent) said they check Amazon before looking or buying elsewhere. Three-quarters (76 percent) said they will shop for a product online before purchasing it at a brick-and-mortar store, and roughly the same number said they plan to visit a store to review a product before purchasing it online. 

Findings from the online survey mirrored those of another recent study by Forbes, which found that 75 percent of younger shoppers (those 18 to 35) planned to continue their holiday shopping into the weeks following Black Friday, not just on the day itself. 

Of those who do shop Thanksgiving week, only 35 percent said they would do the majority of their shopping on Black Friday, compared with 51 percent last year and 59 percent in 2015

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