Is Black Friday Dead? Does it Even Matter Anymore?

Year round discounting, the continued shift to online shopping, and the introduction of non-holiday mega-events like Amazon Prime Day and Alibaba’s Singles Day has clearly lessened the shopper’s desire to venture out on Black Friday. JDA recently surveyed more than 1,000 U.S. consumers to learn about their holiday shopping habits. Results show that 45 percent of respondents said they plan to do at least some of their holiday shopping online this year. Interestingly, 63 percent of those who said they skipped Black Friday/Cyber Monday shopping altogether last year, said that they would shop primarily online. Habits are definitely changing.

Buy Online, Ship to Home: But Only if it’s Free

56 percent of respondents cite cost as their main reason for shopping online. But the cost of the product is only one factor in a consumer’s decision on where to shop. In fact, 25 percent said they will not buy anywhere that does not offer free shipping. Nearly 46 percent said they will pay shipping for a priority item, but will usually shop with those retailers who offer free shipping.

In last year’s survey we highlighted the problems shoppers faced with home delivery. Those issues still exist with one in four respondents having experienced a problem with an online home delivery.  Of those who did have an issue in the last 12 months, 29 percent of respondents said they did not receive an item and both the retailer and delivery company claimed the delivery was made. Nearly 44 percent stated this was the most serious issue that would cause them to no longer shop with a retailer.

To get around these problems – and delivery charges – 46 percent of respondents opt to use “Buy Online, Pick Up In Store.” But this option can have its own troubles, however, as 37 percent experienced an issue at pick-up, including no dedicated staff or staff took a long time or were unable to find their order in the store or store system.

Some Shoppers Are Going Right to the Source

An emerging trend is buying direct from manufacturers. When asked whether they made a purchase directly from a product manufacturer (e.g. Nike) rather than going through a retailer (e.g. Macy’s, Target, Amazon) in the past year, nearly 45 percent responded “yes.” And more than half of those respondents noted that price was the key factor when deciding to purchase from the manufacturer.

Results from JDA’s Annual Voice of the Consumer Black Friday survey show that shoppers’ habits are changing, and retailers need to evolve along with them. Not heeding the call of the “always on” consumer can result in unhappy customers, and lost sales.

If you are a retailer, especially one with an online presence, you need to know what your customers are thinking. Check out the results from the JDA Consumer Survey and learn how you can make changes now to ensure a successful holiday sales season!

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