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Holiday shoppers expected to show less restraint, shop online

October 24, 2012|By Adolfo Flores
  • Consumers are expected to spend an average of $582 on holiday shopping, according to Accenture's annual consumer holiday shopping survey, and 23% plan to spend over $750.
Consumers are expected to spend an average of $582 on holiday shopping,… (Steve Rhodes via Flickr )

Holiday shoppers will be spending a little more this year, but as in recent years they’ll continue to be disciplined and go online for better deals.

Consumers are expected to spend an average of $582 on holiday shopping, according to Accenture's annual consumer holiday shopping survey, and 23% plan to spend over $750. About half expect to increase their spending by $250 or more, with only 5% saying they would be “extravagant” in their shopping and 8% indicating they would “splurge.”

About 51% of those surveyed said they have already set aside cash for their holiday shopping.

“Self-sacrificing will be down and spending will be slightly up; however, our research also shows that shoppers will remain disciplined in their spending,” said Chris Donnelly, managing director of Accenture’s retail practice.

“Retailers need to focus on creating in-store excitement, providing standout products and services, and delivering a seamless experience regardless of which shopping channel the customer uses.”

Of the 63% of shoppers who said they would likely spend the same this year as last year, about a quarter of them said it was because their living expenses have increased. Still, the survey found consumers have a more positive outlook this year, less of them have concerns about the economy or believe they have less discretionary income this year.

The survey also found that 52% of shoppers would shop online on Thanksgiving Day if retailers offer discounts and 53% plan to go out shopping on Black Friday, an increase from the previous year. In 2011 the Accenture Holiday Shopping Survey found that 44% of respondents were interested Black Friday shopping, down from 47% in 2010 and 52% in 2009.

Shoppers will be hungry for discounts, putting pressure on retailers’ profits and margins, Donnelly said.

The use of tablets and smartphones to shop is on the rise, and 25% of patrons said they would use them to buy gifts, compared to 17% in 2011, mostly to compare prices while in a store.

About 56% of consumers said they plan on “showrooming” this holiday season, where shoppers look at a product in the store, then compare prices and buy it online. About 27% of them plan to use their smartphone or tablet while they’re shopping.

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adolfo.flores@latimes.com

Follow Adolfo Flores on Twitter.

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