Accenture: Holiday spending to rise 11%; shoppers looking for in-store, online discounts
New York — Shoppers in the United States intend to spend an average of $646 on gifts this holiday season, representing an 11% increase over the $582 they planned to spend, on average, in 2012, according to Accenture’s annual holiday shopping survey. The forecast uptick is more optimistic than other holiday surveys released to date.
“The average dollar spend is trending up, and we are seeing a consumer mindset shifting from ‘cautious’ to ‘sensible,’ which is good news for retailers,” said Chris Donnelly, global managing director of Accenture’s Retail practice. “However, retailers are mindful that during the 2013 Thanksgiving-Christmas shopping period, they will have six days less in which to tempt shoppers through their doors, so many will go big and go early.”
The survey also shows that the appeal of Black Friday shopping for consumers has reached a five-year high, with 55% of shoppers say they are likely to shop on the day after Thanksgiving versus 53% in 2012. However, 30% of shoppers said they will do most of their Black Friday shopping online, compared to 25% in 2012.
Survey results also indicate that Thanksgiving Day has emerged as an established season event, with 38% of shoppers likely to shop on the holiday. Of those shoppers, 41% indicated that they will be out shopping between 6 p.m. Thanksgiving Day and 5 a.m. on Black Friday.
“Thanksgiving Day shopping is now a firm fixture in the holiday season, “Donnelly said. “We will see more stores opening early on that day in order to capture their share of consumer spending. Although retailers’ main draw on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday will be ‘doorbuster’ deals, shoppers will be demanding discounts of 30% or more throughout the season.” (Sixty two percent of respondents said it will take a discount of 30% or more to persuade them to make a purchase, compared to 52% in 2012.)
Discount retailers will remain the top destination for shoppers this season (76%), while 50% of survey respondents said they will shop at online-only retailers, compared to 44% in 2012.
The survey results indicate that consumers expect to shop seamlessly across in-store, online and mobile channels this holiday season. More shoppers – 63% versus 56% in 2012 – are likely to participate in “showrooming” this holiday season, which the survey defined as going into a physical store to see a product and then searching online for a better price and making their purchase online.
However, 65% also plan to participate in “webrooming,” or browsing online and then going to a store to make their purchase. Survey respondents said that avoiding shipping costs (47%) and being able to touch and feel a product before purchase (46%) were their primary motivations for webrooming.
Although 42% of consumers plan to spend at least half of their holiday shopping dollars online, they also will be looking to take advantage of store-focused technology-enabled services, such as purchase online with in-store delivery or pick-up (36%), and the ability to see up-to-date information on product availability (21%).
In other survey results:
- Gift cards are still number one on consumers’ shopping lists (56%), followed by apparel (54%), toys (44%) and personal electronics (27%), including laptops, tablets and smartphones.
- A growing number of consumers will make purchases or research gifts using their tablets (19% versus 15% in 2012) and smartphones (18% versus 14% in 2012).
Walgreens announces plans to launch financial services
Walgreens plans to launch a full suite of integrated financial services, Balance Financial, in phases throughout the next few months.
The services are all built around the chain’s new Balance Financial Prepaid MasterCard. Balance Financial is currently offered to customers of more than 250 Walgreens locations in Detroit, Milwaukee and Nashville, with a nationwide card rollout expected before year end and additional financial services in 2014. Balance Financial is powered by Galileo, a leader in advanced payment processing solutions.
“Millions of Americans do not have — or want alternatives to — traditional checking accounts and debit cards,” said Jason Dubinsky, Walgreens VP and treasurer. “For them, Balance Financial will represent safety, convenience, value and rewards. With Balance Financial as our platform, over time we plan to add more features and functionality that give our customers even more powerful financial tools to get, stay and live well.”
Balance Financial is a collaboration of Walgreens, MasterCard, Galileo and FIS. In addition, Western Union services are expected to be available in 2014.
BeachMint appoints Olsen twins as co-chairs of advisory board
BeachMint, parent company of JewelMint, StyleMint, ShoeMint and intiMINT, has expanded its partnership with Mary-Kate Olsen and Ashley Olsen, designers of the Row, Elizabeth and James, Olsenboye and StyleMint.
The agreement names Ashley Olsen and Mary-Kate Olsen co-chairs of BeachMint’s advisory board, a role that will be consultative and creative in nature across the four fashion Mint brands. Previously the celebrity twins were partners and designers solely in BeachMint’s apparel brand, StyleMint.
"As successful business women, innovators and CFDA award winning designers Mary-Kate and Ashley are a natural choice to advise on key business, merchandise and design areas as we further scale our women’s fashion divisions. We are thrilled to continue our relationship with them in this evolved role," said BeachMint founder and CEO Josh Berman.
The long-term partnership, which includes an equity grant, will allow BeachMint to further tap Ashley and Mary-Kate’s deep business knowledge of the fashion industry.
"In our expanded roles as co-chairs of the advisory board, Ashley and I will work closely with BeachMint’s management team in this strategic phase of growth to establish the Mint brands as the leading online destination for all things fashion," said Mary-Kate Olsen.
BeachMint is a venture-backed social commerce company founded by serial tech entrepreneurs, Josh Berman (co-founder MySpace) and Diego Berdakin. BeachMint partners with celebrities, experts and designers to create and curate direct to consumer online brands.