November 05, 2015
More U.S. Shoppers Plan to Increase Holiday Spending, Annual Accenture Survey Reveals
Consumers are willing to share personal information with retailers in order to receive personalized offers
U.S. Holiday Shopper Profile Highlights:
  • Forty percent plan to spend more on their holiday shopping this year, up from 25 percent in 2014.
  • Online is the preferred shopping option as compared to in-store though one in 10 think they will use a particular channel depending on what they are purchasing.
  • Sixty-five percent prefer to purchase products from the website of a brick-and-mortar retailer (versus other online stores), due to convenience, trust and security.
  • Half of consumers are likely to shop on Thanksgiving, while 28 percent believe Thanksgiving should be spent with family.
  • Fifty-one percent are willing to share personal information with retailers in order to receive personalized offers from retailers, up from 33 percent in 2014.
  • Webrooming and showrooming will be prevalent among U.S. shoppers, with 69 percent and 65 percent likely to participate in each respectively. 
  • Sixty-one percent of shoppers are influenced by social media when making purchasing decisions.
NEW YORK; Nov. 5, 2015 – Sparked by increasing optimism around consumers’ personal financial situations, U.S. consumers are showing a dramatic increase in their spending expectations this holiday season, with 40 percent planning to spend more on holiday shopping this year, versus just 25 percent saying the same last year according to Accenture’s annual holiday shopping survey.
The Accenture Holiday Shopping Survey found that while consumers are willing to spend more this year, they are still enticed by a good deal. Eighty-seven percent of shoppers are typically persuaded by discounts of 20 percent or more to purchase an item, with 23 percent being persuaded by discounts of just 20 - 29 percent.
While some retailers are closing their doors on Thanksgiving, consumers remain enthusiastic about shopping that day with 50 percent likely to do so, up from 45 percent in 2014. On par with 2014, 63 percent of consumers plan to shop on Black Friday. Consumers are split between planning to shop via their laptop/desktop on Thanksgiving (43 percent) and Black Friday (42 percent), while 40 percent and 42 percent plan to shop in-store on Thanksgiving and Black Friday respectively. Younger shoppers especially males are the most likely to shop on Thanksgiving day/night. Under a third (between 28 percent – 32 percent) of this group will purchase between 50 percent – 100 percent of their items in-store or on laptop/desktop.
“With consumers willing to spend more on holiday purchases again this year, this holiday season represents a strong opportunity for retailers,” said Patricia Walker, Senior Managing Director, Products, and North America Retail Practice Lead at Accenture. “However, in order to capitalize on the opportunity, retailers need to focus on offering a seamless experience for shoppers who will be shopping both online and in-store. As consumers make digital technology a natural part of their lives, their shopping habits have evolved rapidly. If they experience personalization on one channel, they start to expect it across all channels. This represents a great opportunity for retailers who take advantage of new and emerging digital technologies to enhance the shopping experience.”
Consumers Want a Personalized Holiday Shopping Experience
Despite increased instances of cybersecurity breaches across multiple industries in the past year, consumers are increasingly open to sharing personal information with retailers in order to receive personalized offers. The Accenture survey revealed that 51 percent of U.S. consumers are willing to share personal information, up from 33 percent indicating a willingness to do so in 2014. Meanwhile, one quarter (24 percent) are unsure and another quarter (25 percent) are unlikely to share personal information.
When it comes to enticing shoppers to share their personal information and shopping preferences, respondents revealed that discounts and coupons (cited by 72 percent) are the most popular catalysts, while rebate schemes (cited by only 23 percent) are the least likely to entice them. Additionally, when considering channels, e-mail (cited by 53 percent) and in-store promotions (cited by 53 percent) are the channels where consumers feel they are most enticed by offers and coupons.
“What we see is that consumers are prepared to share personal information in order to get personalized benefits. Fifty-six percent of respondents prefer discounts or deals to be proactively sent to them, with those aged 18 - 35 wanting these discounts to be highly personalized and relevant. For retailers, it is important that they strike the right balance in the customer relationship to create trust, engagement, affinity, desire and delight. Retailers must be able to adapt their approach to address the privacy needs of each individual customer,” said Walker.
Webrooming and Showrooming
The Accenture survey revealed that more than 69 percent of U.S. shoppers are likely to participate in ‘webrooming’ (shopping for products online before visiting the retail store to make their purchase) and 65 percent are likely to participate in ‘showrooming’ (visiting a store to review a product before purchasing it online). Among those likely to take part in webrooming, top reasons for doing so included preferring to touch and feel the product before purchasing it (cited by 49 percent), wanting to make sure a product is in stock before going in-store to purchase it (cited by 46 percent) and to avoid paying for shipping (cited by 42 percent).
Interestingly, most 18 - 44 year olds are likely to use “showrooming” while all age groups are happy to use “webrooming.” Nearly half of females (46 percent) will use “webrooming” to avoid the cost of shipping.
For those consumers purchasing items online and picking them up in-store, 67 percent, up from 57 percent in 2014, are likely to buy additional items during their in-store visit.  Females between the ages of 25 - 34 are the group most likely to buy additional items when using the in-store pick up option.
Holiday Shopping Channel Preferences 
Online is the preferred shopping option (for 54 percent of respondents) as compared to in-store where a retailer has a presence in both channels, although one in 10 think they will use a particular channel depending on what they are purchasing.
Sixty-one percent of consumers surveyed say social media will have some influence on their purchasing decisions, with the 18 - 44 age demographic being the most influenced by social media. Key reasons for social media’s influence included being able to see what’s trending in real-time and what other shoppers are buying (cited by 46 percent) and feeling the ads and offers on social media are highly relevant to them (cited by 33 percent).
“Retail is everywhere, and no longer about a location or a channel. Today’s on-the-go nature of consumers has influenced shifts in channel preferences. While we know consumers value content and social media that reflects their lifestyles, our research shows us that social media has very little influence on the purchasing decisions of those aged 45 and over. The younger shoppers who are influenced by social media mostly like to see what’s trending and what others are buying," said Walker.
For consumers planning to visit brick-and-mortar stores this holiday season, the top three factors that would enhance their in-store shopping experience are in-store promotions (cited by 55 percent), being able to touch, feel and see items in person (cited by 46 percent) and seamless operations such as short lines and quick service (cited by 42 percent). When it comes to technology enhancing the in-store experience, most consumers ranked digital coupons as the most important technology, followed by self-service payment options and kiosks with digital set-ups.
Additional trends highlighted by the survey include:
Discount, Deals and Benefits
  • Fifty-six percent of shoppers prefer to be targeted proactively with discounts and deals, compared with only 20 percent who prefer to seek out deals themselves.
  • Among benefits offered by retailers, 39 percent of shoppers plan to take advantage of competitor price matching on the spot, while only 18 percent plan to take advantage of Lay-Away.
  • Just under half (42 percent) of females aged 18 – 44 years will take advantage of purchasing online and having it delivered in-store whilst 48 percent of younger males are more interested in competitor price matching.
U.S Shoppers Gear Up for Thanksgiving and Black Friday
  • Thirty-five percent of shoppers believe Black Friday will offer the best deals, while 20 percent believe Cyber Monday will offer the best deals.
  • Fewer shoppers than in previous years (28 percent, down from 32 percent in 2014 and 41 percent in 2013) believe that Thanksgiving should be spent with family versus holiday shopping.
  • A quarter (24 percent) of women start shopping early or randomly throughout the year with an even higher percentage (37 percent) starting in the autumn period whilst a fifth (22 percent) of men go gang-busters from Thanksgiving/Black Friday or start around December when they get into the Holiday festivities.
  • For men who shop late, they are hoping to have better discounts, especially males aged 25 - 34. Of note, 100 percent of 35 - 44 year old men say they are too busy to shop earlier followed by three quarters (75 percent) of younger males. The women who shop late do so because they want more time to save.
The Holiday Shopping List
  • For the most popular items shoppers plan to buy, apparel topped the list (cited by 69 percent versus 56 percent in 2014) and gift cards came in second (cited by 64 percent versus 57 percent in 2014).
  • Thirty-nine percent of shoppers will spend an average of $26 to $50 on a gift card this holiday season, mostly from discount retailers (46 percent) and restaurants (45 percent), which were also top choices in the 2014 survey.  Over half (53 percent) of those between 45 - 59 years spend more on restaurants.
Online and In-store Frustrations
  • Top frustrations keeping consumers from purchasing more goods online include: shipping costs (cited by 60 percent); not being able to see, touch and feel the product (cited by 49 percent); shipping delays (cited by 36 percent); and security concerns (cited by 29 percent).
  • Top frustrations keeping consumers from purchasing more goods in-store include: long waiting lines and crowds (cited by 65 percent); distance to store locations (cited by 35 percent); parking challenges (cited by 34 percent); and lack of desired inventory options at a particular store (cited by 30 percent).
  • Only two percent of consumers are planning to do the majority of their holiday shopping on mobile devices, with most (43 percent) citing privacy and security issues as a major reason for not shopping on mobile devices.
Accenture conducted an online survey using a representative sample of 1,537 U.S. consumers in September and October 2015.
About Accenture
Accenture is a leading global professional services company, providing a broad range of services and solutions in strategy, consulting, digital, technology and operations. Combining unmatched experience and specialized skills across more than 40 industries and all business functions – underpinned by the world’s largest delivery network – Accenture works at the intersection of business and technology to help clients improve their performance and create sustainable value for their stakeholders. With more than 358,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries, Accenture drives innovation to improve the way the world works and lives.
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Caroline Douglas
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