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Holiday Shoppers More Digital, More Demanding

Leading retailers — including Walmart, Target and Kohl’s — are heading into the holiday with strategies that increasingly stress ecommerce spread over the Thanksgiving weekend rather than in-store insanity on Black Friday. But a new study from Deloitte says winning those digital sales may be just as difficult.

The study shows that even as shoppers become more digital, they’re also becoming more demanding. Some 87% are looking for free shipping, and value it over fast delivery, but most — 60% — think they will be able to keep shopping for Christmas right until Dec. 17 and still get packages sent for free. And they say are willing to pay just $5.10, on average, for same-day delivery.

Deloitte says 78% intend to use their smartphone for shopping, and 55% say they use it to check prices, while 41% intend to use it to make a purchase. (That’s a bump of 6 percentage points from last year's holiday season.) 

And shoppers seem to be more strategic, with 57% saying they will plan all their spending before going to a store or Web site, and just 19% expecting to make an unplanned purchase.

And while people are mostly all about the deal -- with 70% saying the main motivation for seeking out other stores or sites is a better price -- seven in 10 also say they intend to give Main Street a boost, seeking out local gifts to help their economy and find something unexpected and unique.

This is the consultancy’s 30th annual holiday spending survey, based on responses from 4,000 adults.

Retailers are increasingly attempting to streamline and simplify their seasonal offerings, bringing both web and in-store efforts a few steps closer to an ideal omnichannel experience. And by spreading their best prices out over more days in the holiday weekend, they are taking some of the frenzy out of that high-stakes Black Friday. Walmart just reported it will make all of its Black Friday deals available on Walmart.com, starting first thing Thanksgiving morning, and that its shoppers can already get a peek at its Black Friday circular via the store’s app.

 “Our customers can count on us to deliver three things on Black Friday,” says Steve Bratspies, chief merchandising officer, in the announcement. “We’re offering amazing prices, we bought deeper on the gifts they want, and we simplified the shopping experience in stores and online.”

Target and Kohl’s are also offering many of the same instore deals online, and earlier.

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