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NRF Survey Predicts Brisk Black Friday Sales, Sophisticated Consumer Shopping Patterns

Written by Ken Gaebler
Published: 11/23/2011

NRF survey predicts brisk Black Friday sales, sophisticated consumer shopping patterns

Retailers are gearing up for a strong Black Friday and if the results of a recent consumer survey are accurate, they won't be disappointed.

Black Friday Projections

In a preliminary Black Friday shopping survey commissioned by the National Retail Federation (NRF), 152 million individual consumers plan to shop on Black Friday weekend (Friday, Saturday, Sunday), up from the 138 million who planned to shop in the 2010 survey.

But like every year, actual numbers will depend on weather and value factors. While 74 million indicated they definitely plan to shop, 77 million indicated their plans are tentative and will be based on whether they believe the bargains offered by retailers are worth the effort.

"Though many retailers are already touting select Black Friday ads, there's no doubt we'll all be blown away by what retailers still have in their bag of tricks for shoppers," said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay.

"We fully expect to see excited shoppers as early as midnight at stores around the country, as many holiday shoppers would rather stay up all night to take advantage of retailers' Black Friday deals rather than set their alarm to wake up the next morning."

The survey also revealed consumers' increasing dependence on technology as a tool for monitoring retail offers. Although significant numbers of consumers still plan to monitor printed circulars (50%) and Black Friday television ads (32%), meaningful percentages of consumers will search for value using digital mediums including coupon websites (23%), emails from retailers (32%), Facebook (17%) and group-buying sites like Groupon (11%).

"Social media will play a big role in how shoppers follow company sales announcements this holiday season," said Phil Rist, Executive Vice President, Strategic Initiatives, BIGresearch. "From Facebook to Twitter and even group buying sites, 'social' retailers may be rewarded this season in terms of additional holiday sales."

In preparation for Black Friday weekend, retailers are responding en masse to the digital needs of today's consumers. More than 80% of retailers will distribute emails to their customers about Black Friday deals and nearly three-quarters (74%) of retailers will use their Facebook pages to advertise Black Friday deals, up from 57% in 2010.

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