US holiday spending will increase

13 October 2014

NEW YORK: Retailers, especially those offering discounts, can look forward to a busier holiday shopping season this year after a new survey revealed that 25% of US consumers plan to spend more on holiday gifts compared to 20% in 2013.

Spending on holiday gifts is expected to average $718, according to the Accenture Holiday Shopping Survey, an online poll of 500 US consumers conducted in September 2014.

It found two-thirds (66%) are likely to shop on Black Friday – the Friday immediately following Thanksgiving Day – compared to 55% in 2013 and just 44% in 2007. Enthusiasm to go shopping on that day is at its highest for eight years, the report said.

The likelihood that Americans will go shopping on Thanksgiving Day and evening is also up on last year (45% versus 38% in 2013) and nearly half (47%) plan to shop in a physical store between 6pm on Thanksgiving Day and 5am on Black Friday.

However, while the survey indicates that US consumers are more confident about spending this year, the report warns that they remain price-conscious.

Nearly all respondents (96%) said that discounts will be important to their purchasing decisions and more than a quarter (29%) said it would take a discount of 50% or more to persuade them to make a purchase.

Gift cards (57%), apparel (56%) and toys (42%) top consumers' holiday shopping lists this year and Accenture advised that a gift card may prompt additional sales.

"The holiday shopping season is one of the most competitive times of the year for retailers, but they also have a big opportunity to drive sales and acquire new customers," said Dave Richards, global managing director of Accenture Retail.

"Personalised promotions and pushing gift cards are a good way for retailers to continue momentum and stretch this success into the post-holiday season," he added.

More than half (51%) of respondents plan to use the internet to spend at least half of their total holiday gift purchases while free shipping is the top incentive (69%) for them to do so.

In terms of offers, consumers respond to competitor price-matching on the spot (40%), loyalty programs for exclusive deals (35%), purchasing online with in-store delivery or pickup (32%), while loyalty programs appeal to about a fifth (19%).

Data sourced from Accenture; additional content by Warc staff