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Fewer Americans plan to hit the stores over Black Friday Weekend

Intent to Shop Online Remains Steady

Consumer ReportsYonkers, NY – Black Friday deals may not be as enticing as they once were even to shoppers looking to make every holiday shopping dollar count.  Or maybe so-called sales have become so commonplace that it’s getting tougher to wow consumers. 

Either way, some 102 million Americans intend to hit the mall on Black Friday or on the three days following according to the latest Consumer Reports Holiday Shopping Poll.  Although that’s still a lot of shoppers, it’s roughly 16 million less than last year. The full results of the poll are available at www.ConsumerReports.org.

Consumer Reports found that a quarter (24% ) of shoppers plan to hit the stores on Black Friday itself and that same number plan to shop in stores on the following Saturday or Sunday.  And while the number of in-store shoppers may be on the decline, the percentage of those who intend to shop online that weekend has remained steady.  Whether they are shopping online or in-stores; half of consumers are confident that the deals will be equally as good at the mall or on the Net.

“Shopping over Thanksgiving weekend is a sport for many people, and despite the downturn, you can count on long lines, crowds, and traffic,” said Tod Marks, Consumer Reports senior editor and resident shopping expert.  “But retailers are desperate for sales and consumers are likely to see deep discounts not only on Black Friday but throughout the holiday season. So there’s no sense of urgency.”

Online & Mobile Shopping

Consumer Reports found that the number of people who shop online for holiday gifts has increased steadily over the past few years.  This year, online shopping is expected to surpass in-store shopping on the Monday following Thanksgiving, also known as Cyber Monday, the day most people return to work after the long holiday weekend.  Seventeen percent of Americans plan to shop online that day; 13 percent say they will hit the stores.

In yet another sign that Americans are using their cell phones to do more than keep in touch, Consumer Reports reveals that consumers plan to use their cell phones in a variety of ways this holiday season.  Thirty-five percent will use it to entertain themselves while waiting in line or while waiting for friends or family who are shopping; 21 percent will use it to compare prices.  And some (12%) plan to purchase gifts or holiday items with their cell phone.

The Shopping List

On Black Friday weekend, consumers plan to shop mostly for electronics (75%) and clothing (72%).  Within electronics, video games (42%) are by far the biggest single item people plan to buy according to the poll.  Shoppers also plan to scoop up toys (56%) and gift cards (50%).  While most of these purchases will be bestowed as gifs to others, shoppers plan to self-splurge, too.  The gifts they’re most likely to buy for themselves: food or wine, laptops, and TVs.

Done Shopping

As of early November, only four percent of Americans said that they had finished their holiday shopping, while most (62%) had not even begun.  While just over half (54%) of women reported that they had not started shopping, a whopping 71 percent of men continue to procrastinate.

Consumer Reports Holiday Shopping Poll Methodology

The Consumer Reports National Research Center conducted a telephone survey of a nationally representative probability sample of telephone households.  1,015 interviews were completed among adults aged 18+ between November 4 – 7, 2010.  The margin of error is +/- 3% points at a 95% confidence level.


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