Holiday shoppers aren't necessarily hitting the stores in order to have presents for the Christmas tree, according to Horizon Media. Although the majority of these shoppers (60%) are seeking holiday gifts, 23% will shop for everyday items for themselves, particularly clothing, and another 17% will shop for everyday items for others in their families.
While Black Friday has conventionally reigned as the most important shopping day of the season, this year there is clearly a ‘bookend phenomenon.' Black Friday is still the most popular shopping day of the week (68%), but not by much, with 57% planning to shop on the days leading up to Thanksgiving, 54% plan to shop the weekend after Thanksgiving, and 29% will shop during the holiday itself.
Holiday shopping behaviors vary by age per the study. Overall, Millennials are most likely to be hitting the sales: 32% of 18-34 and 30% of 35-49 say they’ll shop during this coming holiday weekend, compared to 20% of those ages 50-64.
Furthermore, Thanksgiving Day shoppers are almost twice as likely to be under 50: 28% of 18-34 and 27% of 35-49 have shopped on Thanksgiving in the past, vs. 17% of those aged 50-64.
In addition, Millennials are most likely than any other age group (53%) to claim that shopping during this time of the year is important to them, versus 40% of those ages 35-49 and 25% of those ages 50-64.
"People, in particular Millennials, are making the most of the days leading up to and following Thanksgiving—expecting that they will get the same sorts of deals marketers have trained them to see on Black Friday,” says Sheri Roder, Chief, Why Group, Horizon Media.
Despite the increasing opportunity to shop online, people are still hitting the stores. Half (51%) have previously shopped on Black Friday and 21% have previously shopped on Thanksgiving Day, and comparable percentages of those survey expect to do again this year.
With all of these shoppers hitting the stores, more people expect to skip the turkey and stuffing.
Those that intend to keep the holiday strictly traditional, with turkey and stuffing, is down nearly 20% over the past two years. Only 58% will keep it traditional, compared to 85% in 2013.
Still there are some traditions that are hard to break, including traveling to see family. Two in 10 Americans (21%) plan to travel for the Thanksgiving holiday this year, up from 16% in 2013.
A stronger economy is likely a contributing factor to this increase in Thanksgiving-time travel from 2013, says Horizon.
Lower unemployment and a stronger U.S. dollar have potentially made consumers feel more comfortable spending a bit to leave home-base for the holiday – as a time to celebrate tradition and see family, take advantage of built in time off of work for a bonus vacation.
Those under age 50 are most likely to be on the move. One in four of 18-49-year-olds (26%) will travel outside of their city, versus 15% of those ages 50-64. In all, most will hit the road, with 79% planning to drive, 14% will fly, 3% will take the bus, and 2% will take the train.
Seven in 10 Americans plan to spend Thanksgiving with immediate family, compared with 55% in 2013. One in four will be with their extended family, 17% will be with their friends. Fewer people plan to volunteer this year compared with those who volunteered in 2013 (1% vs. 3%).
At the same time, those that plan to spend the day alone has doubled since 2013 (12% vs. 6%). Men are more likely than women to be solitary on Thursday (15% vs. 9%).
Meanwhile, more will be taking the opportunity for a pure holiday, 14% vs. the 9% that said so two years ago. And 20% will use this break as a chance to do both a traditional Turkey Day and a vacation combined, with men leading the charge by more than double (28% vs 12% of women).