NRF expects boffo Black Friday

Retail Editor 4, November 17, 2011

Washington D.C. - The number of consumers planning to shop on Black Friday - the day after Thanksgiving and the official kick-off to the holiday spending season - has risen more than 10% over the rate a year ago, the National Retail Federation noted.

According to a preliminary Black Friday shopping survey conducted for NRF by consumer research firm BigResearch, up to 152 million people plan to shop over long Thanksgiving weekend -- Friday, Saturday and Sunday, representing a 10.14% hike form the 138 million people who planned to do the same last year.

For the first time, NRF asked shoppers how they plan to keep track of retailers' holiday sales and promotions announcements. Half (50.5%) said they will keep up with advertising circulars throughout the holiday season and nearly one-third (31.7%) said they will get their information from retailers' holiday commercials.

Nearly one-quarter (23.1%) will seek out coupon websites like RetailMeNot.com and FatWallet.com, and 32.3% will keep track of the email coupons they receive from retailers.

The survey found 17.3% will monitor retailers' Facebook pages and 11.3% will check out group buying sites like Groupon and LivingSocial. Of those who own tablet devices and who plan to shop for or research holiday items this year, one in five (21.3%) will seek out group buying sites and 31.2% will check out retailers' Facebook pages.

As retailers prep their stores for the biggest shopping weekend of the year, they are also ramping up their activity online.

According to a Shop.org eHoliday survey, conducted by BIGresearch, 84.2% will send an email to their customers about Black Friday deals, up from 80.0% last year. Nearly three-quarters (73.7%) will use their Facebook page to reach out to shoppers, up from the 57.1% last year. Many retailers will use their website's home page (50.0%) and Twitter (57.9%) to announce and promote Black Friday deals.

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