America’s Research Group and Inmar Holiday Shopping Survey Results Show “Black Friday” Entrenched as Seasonal Retail Ritual

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Thanksgiving start to “Black Friday” – and availability of early bird specials both days – successful in stimulating sales with more than 39 percent of shoppers spending beyond budget.

Despite some early negative reaction to stores opening on Thanksgiving, shoppers ultimately embraced the idea of an extended “Black Friday” and came out for a full weekend of spending -- according to the Christmas & Holiday Shopping Forecast released this week by America's Research Group and Inmar. Survey results show almost three-quarters of shoppers spent part of at least one day of the weekend in stores.

Friday saw the most shopper traffic with more than 25 percent of shoppers making it their primary day for deal hunting but better than 30 percent of those polled finished their Thanksgiving meal and went in search of deals on Thursday night. And, the promised deals were in stock on both days. Among the shoppers surveyed, more than 86 percent reported that they were able to find the advertised specials they were seeking. When they found the deals, shoppers took advantage -- with almost 46 percent saying they spent more than planned because the deals were “too good to pass up.”

While unplanned purchases were not uncommon, the majority of shoppers came to the stores having done their homework. Pre-trip planning by those surveyed included 78 percent having looked at inserts in the Thanksgiving Day newspaper -- with 93 percent of these shoppers finding the inserts helpful. Of those who viewed inserts, 58 percent took them to the store.

In addition to having sufficient stock on hand, retailers made sure stores were properly staffed and shoppers noticed. More than 64 percent of survey respondents found that there was adequate sales help on hand while 84 percent said there was enough help present to make the shopping experience pleasant.

"This year's Black Friday proved a success for both retailers and shoppers,” says John Ross, president Inmar Analytics and EVP, Inmar. “Retailers, employing strategic promotion – both in print and online – drew shoppers to the store where they found the shelves stocked, deep discounts readily available and adequate staff on hand. Shoppers responded by opening their wallets, taking advantage of advertised offers and energizing a holiday shopping season that is far from over."

Survey results point to significant additional shopping before the season ends. More than half of shoppers (56 percent) report being less than halfway finished with their shopping this holiday season. In looking to complete their holiday shopping, 73 percent are planning on another three to 13 days in stores.

If shoppers continue to spend at their current rate on these unfinished lists, it could mean a very full stocking for retailers. Of those able to recall how much they spent on Thursday and Friday, almost 76 percent have already spent between $250 and $2,500. Thinking about how much they spent over the weekend, 56 percent of surveyed shoppers said they spent within that same range on Saturday and Sunday.

“Consumers spent more this past weekend than they had planned, largely due to deals beings too good to pass up," said Britt Beemer, Chairman and CEO of America's Research Group. “In general, consumers are feeling better overall about spending more.”

Just as with Thursday and Friday, the weekend saw continued availability of advertised specials, as almost 75 percent of shoppers found, and bought, the advertised items that brought them to the store on Saturday and Sunday. While just over 37 percent limited their purchases to the advertised specials, another 63 percent bought other items as well.

While not everyone shopped Thursday night, the opportunity was attractive to many and the combination of sales days appears to be catching on with shoppers. When asked about next year, 62 percent of shoppers said “yes,” they would shop the Thursday/Friday after the Thanksgiving holiday.

The ARG/Inmar research consisted of 1000 telephone interviews conducted November 29 - December 1, 2013 at ARG headquarters in Charleston, SC. The error factor is plus or minus 3.8 percent. The next ARG/Inmar shopping survey will be conducted December 6-8, 2013. The surveys will continue every week through the shopping season.

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About America’s Research Group
America’s Research Group, one of the nation’s foremost consumer research and strategic marketing firms, marked its 30th anniversary in 2009. CEO Britt Beemer is a key resource and advisor to leading brands and top retailers. He is author of The Customer Rules, published by McGraw-Hill. Britt Beemer is a winner of the 2012 American Business Award for Executive of the Year - Business Services and Company of the Year - Business Services.

About Inmar
Inmar is a technology company that operates intelligent commerce networks. Our platforms connect offline and online transactions in real time for leading retailers, manufacturers and trading partners across multiple industries which rely on Inmar to securely manage billions of dollars in transactions. Our Promotions, Supply Chain and Healthcare platforms enable commerce, generate meaningful data and offer growth-minded leaders actionable analytics and execution with real-time visibility. Founded in 1980, Inmar is headquartered in Winston-Salem, North Carolina with locations throughout the United States, Mexico and Canada.

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Sharon Joyner-Payne
Inmar, Inc.
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