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Consumer Reports: Two-in-5 consumers will be out shopping on Black Friday

BY Michael Johnsen

YONKERS, N.Y. — Black Friday will just be an ordinary day for the 56% of Americans who plan to do no shopping at all, according to a Consumer Reports poll released Tuesday. Conversely, 44% intend to do some shopping, up significantly from the 30% who said they shopped for gifts during last year’s Black Friday weekend. 

Among the top reasons Americans gave for wanting no part of shopping during Black Friday weekend were:

  • Too many crowds (70%);
  • The deals are overhyped (34%);
  • I’d rather do something else (33%);
  • I don’t want to get up early (30%);
  • I’d rather spend time with my family (29%);
  • The deals are not usually very appealing to me (23%);
  • I’m waiting to shop until after Black Friday (17%);
  • I’d rather shop online (13%); and
  • Stores might run out of specific products I want to buy (10%). 

Of those who do intend to shop this weekend, 69% will be venturing out to stores, while 58% will do so online, and 29% will shop both in-stores and online. Among the top reasons people gave for why they’ll be shopping on Black Friday weekend were:

  • Black Friday specials are the best deals of the year (55%);
  • The door-buster deals (43%);
  • It’s tradition (23%);
  • I enjoy the energy of the holiday shopping season (19%);
  • I want to get items before they go out of stock (19%);
  • It’s the best time to get holiday shopping done (15%);
  • I want to get my holiday shopping done all at once (12%);
  • I want to take advantage of the time off work to shop (11%); and
  • I enjoy the shopping competition (10%).

"Those who intend to go out shopping on Black Friday probably know what to expect, and to them that’s part of the allure," said Tod Marks, Consumer Reports senior editor and resident shopping expert. 

The Consumer Reports National Research Center designed a survey to explore general sentiment and shopping behaviors for the upcoming 2013 winter holiday season. In November 2013, GfK Custom Research administered the survey online to a nationally representative sample of more than 1,500 randomly selected adult residents in the United States. The median age was 45 years old, and 55% of the sample was female.

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Harris Poll: 59% of shoppers won’t change holiday spending even with possible government shutdown on horizon

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — According to a Harris Poll released Tuesday, 70% of Americans believe it is likely that the government will shut down again in January, while just 21% believe it is unlikely to shut down. Republicans are more likely than both Democrats and Independents to say it is likely there will be a shutdown in January (79% versus 64% and 67%, respectively).

One concern is that all the uncertainty in Washington, D.C. may have some people rethinking holiday spending and other things. As many as 59% agree that regardless of what happens in the nation’s capital, their spending habits will not change much over the next few months. But, one-third (34%) say their spending habits will change. More specifically, just over half of U.S. adults (53%) agree that because of the uncertainty with the federal government they will probably spend less on holiday presents this year and 45% say they will be less likely to do any year end charitable giving because of the potential government shutdown in January.

As many as 25% of U.S. adults believe the economy will improve in the coming year, while 44% say it will stay the same and 32% say it will get worse. Last month, as the nation was coming out of the government shutdown, 22% believed the economy would improve, 37% said it would stay the same and 41% believed it would get worse.

Looking at individual households, half of Americans believe their household’s financial condition will stay the same over the next six months, while 20% say it will get better and 30% believe it will be worse. Last month, while about half (48%) said it would stay the same, over one-third (34%) said their household finances would get worse and 18% believed it would be better in the next six months. 

 

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Moody’s: Pent-up demand will contribute to modest lift in holiday sales

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — Moody’s on Tuesday cut against the grain with its holiday forecasts by suggesting pent-up demand will help give retailers a reason to celebrate Black Friday despite concerns of another government shutdown in January. It’s not what shoppers say they’re going to not do this year, but rather an extension of how shoppers will actually spend based on last season’s behavior. 

"We expect holiday sales growth to be in the 4.5%-to-5.5% range for the 2013 November-December shopping season, compared with 3.8% last year," stated Moody’s assistant VP Michael Zuccaro. "Much of this improvement will be due to pent-up demand as lingering fiscal uncertainties ease and as consumers snap up pivotal new game systems like Playstation 4 and Xbox One."

In the year to date U.S. retailers’ sales and earnings are on track with Moody’s full-year forecasts, the firm stated. Sales growth has been tracking at the lower end of the 3%-5% range, while earnings growth is in the 3.5%-4.5% range. Moody’s believes retailers for the most part have managed inventory levels conservatively and have focused on expense control.

Consumers will continue to prioritize gift-giving for this holiday season, Zuccaro said, noting that last year holiday sales rose modestly despite the fiscal cliff crisis and Hurricane Sandy. "While weak sales in October this year likely reflected concerns about the government shutdown, month-over-month growth in spending on electronics, furniture and sporting goods was strong, which may indicate that consumers have begun to release pent-up demand."

The best-performing segments will again be electronics, toys, party goods and luxury goods, Moody’s says, while retailers whose goods are perceived to be good value for money should also do well. 

 

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