By Quentin Fottrell
There may be bit more elbow room on Black Friday. Only 18% of consumers plan to go shopping on retail’s favorite day of the year, according to a phone survey of 1,000 adults carried out by the deal tracker website Offers.com. That would mark a steep decline from the 27% of consumers the National Retail Federation estimates hit the stores last Black Friday.
But what’s bad news for retailers, could be good for shoppers, experts say, as the deals may be improved to bring in the crowds.
The weak U.S. economy and uncertain outlook has made consumers more cautious about doing the bulk of their sale shopping in one day, the survey found. Some 52% of shoppers spend more than an hour researching the best price for each holiday purchase, while 87% of respondents are planning to spend “the same or less” during the upcoming holiday season than they did in 2010.
Such bleak forecasts haven’t stopped retailers from getting in on the act: Target and Macy’s both say they’ll open doors at midnight on Thanksgiving.
Fewer shoppers on Black Friday has another upside, experts say. “The last thing retailers want is customers being injured because they’re swarming their front door,” says retail analyst Jeff Green. Kit Yarrow, professor of psychology and marketing at Golden Gate University in San Francisco, says studies show that protein (turkey) reduces impulsive buys. “Maybe all that turkey will have some mitigating effect on the herd instinct that often prevails,” she says.