Friday doesn't officially begin in the United States until the day after Thanksgiving, but this year a slew of retailers began offering the deals a week early. Amazon, Best Buy and The Sharper Image
are among those calling these early days Black Friday deals week.
Results from the first Sterne Agee Holiday Shopping Survey of 500 consumers about their shopping intentions during the holidays found that 47% expect to keep spending constant this year with last year, while 14% expect to spend more and 38% expect to spend less. The analyst firm said 76% of shoppers expect to do the majority of their shopping in December, and only 11% expect to shop during the Thanksgiving and Black Friday weekend.
Online and discount retail stores -- at 30% and 28%,
respectively -- will be the most popular channels for holiday shopping, followed by the department stores at 19%. In fact, 39% of survey respondents expect to do more than half of their shopping
online and 78% are either somewhat or very likely to compare in-store pricing to online pricing.
The impact that online search ads have on offline sales in brick-and-mortar stores has not been so obvious until recently. The ads help search marketers that are running campaigns for retailers compete on pricing. In three separate studies, analysts creating the annual Sterney "Stock"ing Stuffer picks comparing consumer electronics, toys and a random assortment of national brand items at the department stores found the best prices at Amazon for consumer electronics, Walmart for toys, and JCPenney for department store buys.
Many of these early Black Friday deals are found online or through email sign-ups. Brands and retail stores are making it easier to click your way through to conversions. Emarketer points to a survey of mothers in the U.S. and Canada conducted by Adroit Digital in October that suggests mothers hold the majority of responsibility for gift buying. The poll found that more than seven in 10 moms said they would take responsibility for at least three-quarters of gift purchases in their household this year.
So paid-search ads that appeal to moms could produce higher results. Moms will make their fair share of their holiday purchases online. Almost one-third of respondents said they planned to do at least 60% of their holiday shopping online. And more than seven in 10 expected to make at least 40% of purchases through digital channels, according to eMarketer.