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Charleston, S.C. -- Despite some early negative reaction to stores opening on Thanksgiving, shoppers ultimately embraced the idea of an extended “Black Friday” and came out for a full weekend of spending, according to the Christmas & Holiday Shopping Forecast released by America's Research Group and Inmar. Survey results show almost three-quarters of shoppers spent part of at least one day of the weekend in stores.
Friday saw the most shopper traffic with more than 25% of shoppers making it their primary day for deal hunting but better than 30% of those polled finished their Thanksgiving meal and went in search of deals on Thursday night. And, the promised deals were in stock on both days.
Among the shoppers surveyed, more than 86% reported that they were able to find the advertised specials they were seeking. When they found the deals, shoppers took advantage — with almost 46% saying they spent more than planned because the deals were “too good to pass up.”
Pre-trip planning by those surveyed included 78% having looked at inserts in the Thanksgiving Day newspaper — with 93% of these shoppers finding the inserts helpful. Of those who viewed inserts, 58% took them to the store.
In addition to having sufficient stock on hand, retailers made sure stores were properly staffed and shoppers noticed. More than 64% of survey respondents found that there was adequate sales help on hand while 84% said there was enough help present to make the shopping experience pleasant.
"This year's Black Friday proved a success for both retailers and shoppers,” says John Ross, president Inmar Analytics and EVP, Inmar. “Retailers, employing strategic promotion – both in print and online – drew shoppers to the store where they found the shelves stocked, deep discounts readily available and adequate staff on hand. Shoppers responded by opening their wallets, taking advantage of advertised offers and energizing a holiday shopping season that is far from over."
Survey results point to significant additional shopping before the season ends. More than half of shoppers (56%) report being less than halfway finished with their shopping this holiday season. In looking to complete their holiday shopping, 73% are planning on another three to 13 days in stores.
If shoppers continue to spend at their current rate on these unfinished lists, it could mean a very full stocking for retailers. Of those able to recall how much they spent on Thursday and Friday, almost 76% have already spent between $250 and $2,500. Thinking about how much they spent over the weekend, 56% of surveyed shoppers said they spent within that same range on Saturday and Sunday.
“Consumers spent more this past weekend than they had planned, largely due to deals beings too good to pass up," said Britt Beemer, chairman and CEO of America's Research Group. “In general, consumers are feeling better overall about spending more.”