Accenture Survey Finds U.S. Holiday Shoppers Plan to Spend Same Amount as Last Year, Report Strong Preference for Stores Over Internet

New research shows shoppers will look for sales, won’t allow potential terrorism to keep them from malls

New York, November 20, 2001 – Despite forecasts of gloom, holiday shoppers are planning to spend the same amount as they did last year, according to new Accenture research. Shoppers hope to spend their holiday dollars on sale items, and most will turn to physical stores as their first choice of shopping venue.

The largest percentage of respondents – 44 percent – said their holiday spending would be the same as last year, predicting a total spend of between $200 and $499. Almost one-half (45 percent) said that sale items would be “very influential” in their purchasing decisions. In fact, 43 percent said that, due to the economic downturn, they would look for more sales and promotions.

“Clearly, this holiday season will be highly promotional,” said Angela Selden, managing partner, Accenture North American Retail industry group. “Retailers who can attract customers with compelling promotions and convert that traffic into sales with appealing merchandise and in-store offers are poised to win.”

Given a heightened fear of terrorism, it was somewhat surprising the physical store was by far the most popular shopping venue, with 83 percent of all respondents citing it as their first choice. The Internet was a distant second, with 11 percent of respondents reporting it would be their first choice for shopping.

Forty-three percent of respondents reported that they do not plan to shop more on the Internet than they did last year. Of those, 67 percent stated it is because they prefer physical stores. Almost one-quarter (23 percent) of respondents said that they do expect to shop more on the Internet than they did last year. Of those, 63 percent cited the convenience of online shopping, 15 percent said they find more sales and promotions online, and 11 percent enjoyed the ability to make purchases online and have items shipped directly to friends and family. Thirty-three percent of respondents planned to shop online the same amount as last year.

For all shoppers, clothing proved to be the most sought after gift item. More than three-quarters (76 percent) said they plan to purchase clothing from a physical store, 45 percent plan to purchase clothing from a catalog and 21 percent intend to do so through the Internet.

“Overall, consumers will continue to spend money during the holiday season, but there is likely to be a significant shift in where those dollars are spent,” concluded Selden. “The savvy retailers will capture those dollars by using information and analytics to quickly respond with pricing, presentation and advertising changes that capitalize on what early trends are telling them.”

This research was conducted online from October 22, 2001, to October 30, 2001. A total of 1,436 U.S. consumers who planned to shop during the coming holiday season completed full surveys.

About Accenture
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