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Will Clicks Beat Bricks This Black Friday?

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Despite all the hoopla over the Thanksgiving kickoff for this year’s holiday sales, an increasing number of consumers expect to find better deals online than in person. In fact, shoppers say Amazon will offer the best value this season, a new survey finds.

Faith in the online retailer’s offers heading into Black Friday increased more than any other store in 2011, according to a poll of 5,000 shoppers by the market research company YouGov BrandIndex. What’s more, it’s number one among three distinct categories: men, women and parents. No other brand made it into the Top 5 of all three categories.

Nordstrom, K-Mart, Marshall’s and Neiman Marcus also saw big jumps in their perceived value this year, according to the survey, which measured the change in brands’ perceived value since a year ago.

This results match a similar survey carried out by sale-tracking site DealNews.com. When shoppers were asked, “Which retailer will give me the best value for my money?” 87% answered Amazon.

In that survey, DealNews identified 8,996 Amazon “deals,” (or offers they considered worthwhile), making it the most deal-friendly online retailer. In comparison, runner-up Wal-Mart had just 3,144 sales the editors classified as deals, and third-place Sears had 1,027.

However, some commentators say online surveys give online stores an advantage. Steve Frenda, managing director of strategy and development at marketing firm Path to Purchase Institute, says Amazon has a head-start with Internet polls as the respondents are more likely to be online shoppers.

But Robert Passikoff, the founder and president of Brand Keys, says Amazon sells a broader range of products. It ranked No. 1 for customer loyalty in yet a Brand Keys survey, beating out Apple and Facebook. What’s more, 75% of those consumers were surveyed by phone, and another 20% in person.

Here are the results from YouGov BrandIndex’s survey:

BrandIndex Analysis: Big Holiday Retailers Value Improvers- 2011 vs. 2010 (General Population)
Rank Brand Sept-23-Nov 17 2011 Sept-23-Nov 17 2010 Change in Score
1 Amazon 52.5 46.5 6.0
2 Nordstrom (0.7) (3.6) 2.9
3 K-Mart 15.3 12.7 2.6
4 Marshall’s 21.5 19.4 2.1
5 Neiman Marcus (10.4) (12.5) 2.1
BrandIndex Analysis: Big Holiday Retailers Value Improvers- 2011 vs. 2010 (Men)
Rank Brand Sept-23-Nov 17 2011 Sept-23-Nov 17 2010 Change in Score
1 Amazon 50.2 45.3 4.9
2 Nordstrom (3.2) (6.0) 2.8
3 Marshall’s 15.0 13.0 2.0
4 Best Buy 30.5 30.7 (0.2)
5 Bloomingdale’s (9.7) (9.5) (0.2)
BrandIndex Analysis: Big Holiday Retailers Value Improvers- 2011 vs. 2010 (Women)
Rank Brand Sept-23-Nov 17 2011 Sept-23-Nov 17 2010 Change in Score
1 Amazon 55.2 47.8 7.4
2 K-Mart 22.2 16.7 5.5
3 Neiman Marcus (6.3) (10.8) 4.6
4 eBay 33.2 29.2 4.0
5 Sears 28.0 24.3 3.7
BrandIndex Analysis: Big Holiday Retailers Value Improvers- 2011 vs. 2010 (Parents)
Rank Brand Sept-23-Nov 17 2011 Sept-23-Nov 17 2010 Change in Score
1 Amazon 54.6 43.4 11.2
2 K-Mart 16.3 15.0 1.3
3 Gap 8.9 7.8 1.2
4 Bloomingdale’s (8.7) (9.5) 0.8
5 Banana Republic (5.6) (6.2) 0.6

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  • Pay Dirt examines the millions of consumer decisions Americans make every day: What to buy, how much to pay, whether to rave or complain. Lead written by Quentin Fottrell, the blog examines these interactions, providing readers with news, insight and tips on shopping, spending, customer service, and companies that do right – and wrong – by their customers. Send items, questions and comments to quentin.fottrell@dowjones.com or tweet @SMPayDirt.

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