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Retail messaging shifts over weekend

News, 22 November 2016

WASHINGTON: A majority of Americans plan to shop this holiday weekend, with both online and offline channels expected to benefit, although the messaging tactics used should differ between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, a new survey suggests.

A poll of more than 1,200 consumers by Deloitte Retail found that 79% intended to shop on Black Friday, either in stores or online. Specifically, 69% planned to head to stores, with 55% going online. And three quarters (74%) also indicated they would be shopping online on Cyber Monday.

"While digital and physical tactics should work in concert, it's critical that retailers' digital influence fits specific purposes and shopping days this week," said Rod Sides, vice chairman, Deloitte LLP and US retail, wholesale and distribution leader.

"Before Thanksgiving, the experience should be informational and inspirational, to influence the consumer in the research phase."

He advised advertisers to use feature-rich mobile formats so that people can browse reviews and compare information at the point of purchase.

As the weekend progresses, however, inspiration gives way to more practical matters. "Cyber Monday is purely transactional, where features like prices, free shipping and online return policies move into focus," Sides explained.

A separate survey from payment processor Vantiv highlighted the preference of older age groups for shopping from home.

Over the Thanksgiving weekend, it expected that 42% of Gen X shoppers and 49% of Millennials would be heading for bricks-and-mortar stores, compared to just 27% of Boomers and 11% of Retirees.

It also reported that two thirds of Millennials have a firm budget, compared to just 18% of Boomers and 20% of Retirees.

Quite aside from the physical stresses of braving the shopping crowds, financial stresses are likely to affect around half of this weekend's shoppers, according to Experian – thanks partly to a failure to create a budget, partly to forgetting additional gifting expenses such as wrapping, cards, postage and hostess gifts.

The credit monitoring business reported that 56% of the people it surveyed admitted spending too much during the holiday season, while 55% said they felt stressed about their finances during the holidays.

Data sourced from Deloitte, Vantiv, Experian; additional content by Warc staff