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Deloitte: Consumers growing more anxious about in-store shopping; safety is key

woman shopping online

More consumers plan to shop online (61%) than in-store (54%) on Black Friday.

The findings are part of a new survey by Deloitte, which revealed that 57% of shoppers are anxious about shopping in-store during the holiday season due to the pandemic. (The survey was conducted Oct. 9 – Nov. 2).  That’s up from 51% in September, when Deloitte last asked the question.    

For those shopping on Black Friday, COVID-19 safety precautions are almost of equal importance to getting a great deal (30% and 35%, respectively). Throughout the course of the Thanksgiving period, 75% of survey respondents said COVID-19 safety precautions are important when choosing a retailer.  

Nearly one-third of people are planning to shop for fewer days altogether this holiday season, with concerns about COVID cited as the main (63%) reason. And virtually all (95%) consumers who plan to shop during the Thanksgiving period will shop online at some point.

“This Thanksgiving period, shoppers are interested in two things – getting a good deal on items and feeling safe – and this is driving significant changes in how they approach the season,” said Rod Sides, vice chairman and U.S. retail, wholesale and distribution leader, Deloitte LLP. “Also, with nearly one-third of consumers not having firmly decided on where to shop for specific items, those retailers that prioritize safety precautions, for both the customer and employees, are likely to win this holiday season."

Other findings from Deloitte’s 2020 Pre-Thanksgiving Pulse Survey are below. 

  • Mass merchants (61%) and online retailers (54%) dominate as the top destinations for shoppers as consumers prioritize safety and deals.   
  • For the entire Thanksgiving period, the year-over-year share of in-store spend is likely to decline to 37% (down from 43% in 2019), while share of online spend is likely to increase to 62% (an increase from 53% in 2019).
  • As online shopping increases, 52% of consumers say that the variety of delivery options for orders is very or extremely important, up from 44% last year. However, nearly two-thirds (65%) of online shoppers prefer standard delivery via post or courier service.
  • Social traditions and the way shoppers are purchasing gifts are different, however, spending on gift items such as clothing (66%), electronics (49%) and toys (52%) remains steady.


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