Accenture: Consumers Plan 'Sensible' 11% Holiday Hike

With several of the leading retail forecasters predicting a lukewarm holiday, a new study from Accenture based on consumer intentions is far more bullish, calling for an 11% increase. And while people say they will be hunting for bargains and focusing on sensible gifts, “they say they intend to spend $646 this holiday season,” Courtney Spitz, a partner with Accenture’s global retail practice, tells Marketing Daily, “up from the $582 they told us they were planning to spend a year ago at this time. And while consumers don’t always do what they say they will do, the trends we are seeing are very positive.” 

Other predictions, including those from Deloitte and the National Retail Federation, are looking for gains in the 4% range.

Some 20% included in Accenture’s survey plan to spend more on gifts this year, compared to 14% who planned to do so last year. Still, when asked to describe their spending this year, “sensible” was the word used most often (compared to last year’s “cautious”), with bargain-hunting still tops on their list. Some 94% say discounts will guide their selections, up from 84% last year.



Spitz says the results show a higher level of enthusiasm and confidence about the holiday, including the news that 55%, the highest percentage in five years, plan to shop on Black Friday.  And amid rumors that Macy’s may even open its venerable Herald Square flagship at 8 p.m. on Thursday, the survey finds that 38% plan to begin shopping on Thanksgiving Day itself. Of those, 41% will leave the Thanksgiving dishes in the sink so they shop between 6 p.m. Thanksgiving Day and 5 a.m. on Black Friday.

This year’s results also include an intensifying desire for what she calls “a seamless shopping experience. It’s intriguing that people are more likely to be ‘webrooming’ than ‘showrooming.’”

About 63% say they plan to showroom -- up from 56% last year -- which retailers define as shopping for an item in a physical store before heading back home to buy it online. But 65% plan to do the reverse, researching their purchase online, then going to an actual store to purchase it. About 47% of those shoppers say they do so to beat shipping costs, while 46% like to touch an item before buying it.

"Little girl with Christmas stocking" photo from Shutterstock.

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