Accenture: Consumers Plan On More Black Friday, Thanksgiving Spending

According to the Accenture Holiday Shopping Survey, U.S. consumers intend to spend an average of $646 on gifts this holiday season, up 11% from what they planned to spend on average in 2012. The management consulting firm noted that it study demonstrates that the appeal of Black Friday shopping for consumers has reached a five-year high and that Thanksgiving Day has emerged as an established holiday-season selling event.

Consumers won’t be pushovers, however, as the survey suggested they will seek out sizeable discounts throughout the holiday season.

Holiday shoppers will focus on discounts and sales, Accenture maintained, as 94% of survey respondents said that discounts will be important to their purchasing decisions this holiday season, up from 84% in 2012. Today, 49% of consumers expect that discounted or sale items will account for three-quarters or more of their purchases, Accenture reported.

Still, one in five consumers intends to spend more on gifts this year, compared to 14% who planned to increase their holiday spending in 2012. Respondents to the study indicated that they were more likely to overspend their holiday budget this year, at 46%, that last, at 34%.

As for Black Friday, 55% of shoppers polled said they were likely to shop on the occasion, Accenture maintained, compared to 53% in 2012 and 44% in 2011. However, a larger proportion of shoppers, 30%, said they would do most of their Black Friday shopping online versus 25% in 2012.

At the same time, the survey points to the fact that Turkey Day means more than food, family and football in 2013, with 38% of consumers surveyed saying they were likely to shop on Thanksgiving. Of those shoppers, 41% indicated that they would shop between 6 p.m. Thanksgiving Day and 5 a.m. on Black Friday.

The Accenture study noted that those who dread the sight of pre-Thanksgiving holiday promotions aren’t likely to experience relief any time soon, as 73% of Accenture respondents said they had already started their holiday shopping in September or plan to do most of it by the end of November.

“The average dollar spend is trending up, and we are seeing a consumer mindset shifting from ‘cautious’ to ‘sensible,’ which is good news for retailers,” said Chris Donnelly, global managing director of Accenture’s Retail practice. “However, retailers are mindful that during the 2013 Thanksgiving-Christmas shopping period, they will have six days less in which to tempt shoppers through their doors, so many will go big and go early. Thanksgiving Day shopping is now a firm fixture in the holiday season. We will see more stores opening early on that day in order to capture their share of consumer spending. Although retailers’ main draw on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday will be doorbuster deals, shoppers will be demanding discounts of 30% or more throughout the season.”