While Black Friday and Cyber Monday remain the dominant shopping events of the year, fewer consumers plan to shop them in 2020 – many of those who do plan to shop will do so online and expect retailers to offset any increased shipping charges
The US Holiday Shopping Report conducted by Simon-Kucher & Partners, a global strategy and marketing consulting firm, and Dynata, an independent market research institute, revealed that Black Friday and Cyber Monday are still viewed by consumers as the best shopping events of the year for deals – 32 percent of consumers indicated they think Black Friday has the best shopping deals and 16 percent said they view Cyber Monday as the best opportunity for deals, compared to only 11 percent for Amazon Prime Day. The study, based on a representative sample of more than 1,000 consumers across the US, suggests that despite the confidence in Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals, there is a 25 percent increase in the number of shoppers who have not yet decided or are not planning to shop either event as compared to last year.
Consumers will be shopping differently this year
This year, consumers who plan to shop during Black Friday and Cyber Monday revealed that they are more likely to browse through available deals than shop for specific items. Overall, 78 percent of consumers indicated they will browse available deals and 51 percent will be looking for specific products (as compared to 66 percent and 59 percent respectively from last year). Additionally, as compared to last year, there is about a six percent increase in the number of consumers who will not be planning their shopping lists in advance of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The majority of those who will be pre-planning their lists will do so one to two weeks before the events.
“With the pandemic leaving consumers pessimistic about their financial outlook, consumers are wary of committing to spending what discretionary income they have left,” said Hubert Paul, Director at Simon-Kucher. “While this means retailers need to be even sharper on their promotions, there could be significant cross-sell opportunities as consumers are browsing across categories they might not primarily be considering.”
2020 brings higher expectations for higher discounts
With more browsing comes the expectation of more deals – 52 percent of consumers said they expect Black Friday discounts of 25 to 50 percent off, whereas last year, only 44 percent of consumers expected discounts this high. For Cyber Monday, 21 percent of consumers said they expect discounts of more than 50 percent off, compared to only 12 percent of consumers last year.
While shoppers are hoping to find better deals this year, nearly 70 percent of consumers indicated they plan to spend the same amount as last year or more. More than 80 percent of Black Friday and Cyber Monday shoppers plan to spend $50 or more, while more than 30 percent expect to spend $200 or more.
“It might not be all doom and gloom for retailers,” said Paul. “Strategically engaging and connecting with consumers with messages that resonate can still lead to similar results as last year, albeit requiring more consumers to spend to offset the higher discounts.”
Online shopping will be more dominant than ever
Unsurprisingly, many consumers will be turning to in-store shopping alternatives this holiday season. While 16 percent of respondents said they will solely rely on brick-and-mortar stores for their shopping, more than 30 percent said they will be exclusively shopping online (which is an increase of 15 percent year over year), and six percent will take advantage of curbside pickup options.
With an increase in online shopping, consumers will have to contend with increased shipping costs thanks to holiday surcharges and fees expected to come from carriers such as FedEx, UPS, and USPS1. When asked how they would prefer retailers mitigate these costs, consumers said their top preferences are 1) to lessen the shipping speed on “free shipping”, 2) the option to ship to store/curbside pickup, and 3) increasing the minimum purchase to qualify for free shipping.
“It’s a surprise to no one that many consumers will be opting to shop from the comfort and – thanks to a global pandemic – safety of their own homes this year,” said Paul. “However, consumers are also particularly sensitive to ‘unnecessary spending’ as a result of the economic crisis, so shipping costs are not something they’re going to want to pay more for. It will be critical for retailers to understand the options they have when it comes to offsetting these costs, how to do so with minimal financial impact to their business, and finally, how to appropriately communicate these changes to their customers.”
Full study report available upon request
*About the study: The US Holiday Shopping Report was conducted by Simon-Kucher & Partners and Dynata in September, 2020. More than 1,000 people the US were surveyed about their shopping preferences and behaviors for this year’s holiday season.
Simon-Kucher & Partners, Strategy & Marketing Consultants:
Simon-Kucher & Partners is a global consulting firm with more than 1,400 professionals in 39 offices worldwide focusing on TopLine Power®. Founded in 1985, the company has 35 years of experience providing strategy and marketing consulting and is regarded as the world’s leading pricing advisor.
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