US Consumers Look For The Best Deals

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Emerging Group of “Organized Consumers” Looking to Spread Holiday Spending Over Several Months, Accenture Survey Finds

Americans are embracing the holiday spirit and focused on spreading cheer to others, however widespread uncertainty and personal financial strains are prompting consumers to plan for the holidays with greater precision, according to results of the 16th Annual Holiday Shopping Survey from Accenture (NYSE: ACN).

The survey of more than 1,500 US consumers found that the majority (84%) are looking forward to the holidays. Just over half (53%) are looking forward to spending time with loved ones this season, and to treating themselves and others (39%).

“The organised consumer”
Faced with higher costs and a sharpened focus on getting what they need for the holidays, a group of “organised consumers” is emerging and strategising how to stretch their shopping dollars. Just over one-third (35%) of all consumers said they will try to stick to a holiday budget, and 45% are shopping at different times this year in search of the lowest prices.

The survey also shows that many “organised consumers” pulled out their holiday shopping lists early, with 45% saying that they had already started shopping in August. A small percentage (16%) bought some items in early 2022 to take advantage of last year’s post-holidays sales and discounts.

Winning consumers’ share of wallet
A parallel Accenture survey of 150 retail executives in the US found that retailers are responding by taking steps to win consumer spend. Almost all executives said that increased promotional activity (cited by 99%) and availability guarantees (98%) form part of their company’s plans for the season. Furthermore, 37% said their company is stockpiling goods to ensure supply. A similar number (35%) said their companies are taking special measures or deep discounting to offload surplus stock, and 32% are re-optimising pricing and promotions.

“Many retailers have excess inventory they need to sell, which will come as welcome news to consumers in search of promotions and deals,” said Lori Zumwinkle, a senior managing director at Accenture who leads Accenture’s Retail industry group in North America. “As the relevance of stand-alone sales events continues to dwindle, retailers must take a long view of the season. This should include a dynamic marketing and promotions plan anchored around existing inventory and then adapted as the crucial trading season ebbs and flows.”

Deck the malls
The survey also highlights how providing additional services could help retailers drive footfall to stores and contribute to positive holiday shopping experiences. For instance, two-thirds (68%) of all consumers — and 88% of older millennials (ages 32-39) — said that services such as an in-store restaurant or beauty salon would entice them to shop with one retailer over another.

Another thing that would entice consumers to shop with one retailer over another is a dedicated in-store area for picking up online orders, cited by two-thirds (68%) of consumers overall — and 90% of older millennials. This is not particularly surprising, given that one-third (32%) of consumers said they are seeing an increase in delivery prices.

“Retailers with physical stores could be set to gain this holiday season as consumers go in search of the perfect gift, the experience of seeing Santa, or the peace-of-mind of picking up items in-store themselves to ensure that have the product in their hands,” Standish said. “Innovative retailers are applying creativity to the store layout to maximise the sales for each square foot of their allocated selling space. One example is creating a live-stream studio to support e-commerce sales or dedicating an area to collect orders. Retailers are also looking for ways to combine staff and technology to ensure that shoppers’ in-store experiences are easy, enjoyable and efficient to navigate.”

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