Though one can no longer enter the mall without hearing the echoes of Christmas carols ringing from the rafters, the official holiday shopping season has yet to start. Each year, shoppers attempt to beat the crowds by making most, if not all, their purchases before Black Friday arrives. But, as big name retailers introduce Thanksgiving Day hours and earlybird incentives, brick-and-mortar stores are also poised to start the shopping season sooner rather than later.
According to Placed's "Holiday Shopper Profile: Offline Insights into Thanksgiving and Black Friday Shoppers" report, popular retailers that remain closed on Thanksgiving may be missing out, as shoppers are up to 50 percent more likely to visit the stores for which they exhibit high affinity. The survey offers unique insights into holiday shoppers, specifically those frequenting brick-and-mortar retailers, by measuring the location-based activity of more than 125,000 U.S. participants. The study combines this behavioral data with the mobile survey statistics of 14,645 U.S. smartphone respondents to develop an abbreviated image of the average holiday shopper in today's market.
The following results highlight how consumers plan to engage on both Thanksgiving and Black Friday, and how such behaviors are influenced by their everyday behavior and affinity toward these brands:
- While 45 percent of those polled plan to shop on Black Friday, 22 percent expect to shop on Thanksgiving, highlighting this new tactic's rapid momentum and potential for success.
- For both Thanksgiving (54 percent) and Black Friday (63 percent) shoppers, brick-and-mortar retail is the preferred method of shopping this holiday season.
- Because of the limited number of retailers open on Thanksgiving, shoppers are 24 percent more likely to shop online than on Black Friday.
- Young adult apparel and off-price department stores, such as Aeropostale, Ross, and Forever 21, ranked highly among stores that should consider opening on Thanksgiving. However, warehouse stores, such as Costco and BJ's Wholesale Club, have less to gain by opening their doors.
- Black Friday deal-hunters expect to turn to their smartphones as an in-store shopping companion when it comes to getting coupons and discounts (49 percent), comparing prices (43 percent), and getting product information (37 percent).
- Shoppers who plan to use their smartphones for showrooming purposes on Black Friday are more likely to visit bookstores, toy stores, beauty, sporting goods, and shoe retailers.
Key takeaway: Retailers face an odd dilemma as they prepare to prosper this holiday season. In 2013, Thanksgiving comes late and Hanukkah arrives early, shortening the length of the shopping season in an already rocky economy. By opening on Thanksgiving and promoting pre-Black Friday sales, retailers hope to encourage both eager and reluctant consumers to shop early and save money. Big name retailers are particularly determined to capitalize on this premature surge in sales, as they look to bypass their competitors by enticing shoppers with special offers. Yet, while this emerging strategy may hold great potential for each participating company's bottom line, only the aftermath will determine if this new tactic has the staying power to become retail's new Thanksgiving Day tradition.