The vast majority (75%) of Americans plan to shop over Thanksgiving weekend. And while spending is increasingly going online, 64% of consumers say they'll head to stores over the weekend, according to the survey from Deloitte of more than 1,200 consumers, which was emailed to Retail Dive.
Shoppers will spend an average $427 between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday, up from $400 last year, the survey found. Most of that (52%) will be spent online and 46% in physical stores. Black Friday early birds will outspend others: those shopping between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. plan to spend an average of $225, while those shopping at 6 a.m. expect to spend $147, and those between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. will spend $161.
The weekend’s turnout is on pace to be strong, Deloitte found. On Thanksgiving Day, more people will shop online (28%) than in-stores (25%). On Saturday, 52% plan to shop in-store, compared with 24% online. On Cyber Monday, 72% plan to shop online.
Holiday marketing and Black Friday discounts have already begun this year. In fact, Amazon launched its deals 50 days ahead of the holiday weekend and Target announced its plans early this month. While many are getting an early jump on shopping, there’s also plenty of evidence that shows Black Friday deals are expanding later in the season too.
Nearly 40% of people surveyed by Deloitte said they haven’t started any of their holiday shopping yet. A fair bit of spending will occur on Thanksgiving Day, when a huge majority of Americans want stores to just stay closed, although it’s mostly slated to take place online. That suggests shoppers will likely be multitasking while cooking the turkey and watching the football game.
There are other signs in this research, however, that point to brick-and-mortar retail still winning. Traditional department stores are the number one physical store destination for the weekend, with more than half (51%) of surveyed shoppers planning to visit them. Other top physical destinations are mass merchants (39%) and electronics/office supply/computer stores (38%).
The strength of the weekend is likely getting a boost from shoppers’ improved financial positions this year, according to Deloitte, which found that 37% of shoppers say they plan to spend more than they originally intended this holiday season. "Consumers are gearing up to increase spending, and while online is expected to pull more of shoppers’ budgets, there is still a healthy outlook for traffic in the stores, particularly on Black Friday," Rod Sides, vice chairman, Deloitte LLP and U.S. retail, wholesale and distribution leader, said in a statement.
But that boost doesn’t mean that consumers aren’t laser-focused on getting deals, and they have the tools to get that done. Nearly 40% of consumers expect to buy something online while in-store due to better pricing and/or price matching, and 36% say they’ll be influenced by deals from a mobile device while in-store over Thanksgiving weekend. That could give an advantage to retailers like eBay, which is fiercely maintaining its new price-matching policy through the holidays. By the same token, it could hurt those, like Toys R Us, that aren't.
Experience also matters, both online and off. Nearly half (46%) of Deloitte’s survey respondents said they’ll move on to another retailer rather than wait if an online site has technical problems.
Sides said retailers have a "tremendous opportunity" to elevate the customer experience throughout the weekend. "It starts with the digital part of the shopping journey, delivering creative and personalized promotions and touchpoints that create inspiration before the holiday weekend," he said. "That follows with an in-store experience that delights with displays, merchandise and seasonal atmosphere, along with services that make it easy for customers to find unique items and make quick transactions."