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More than 50 percent of U.S. consumers will be out shopping during the holiday season, spending more than 10 percent more on average

The comfort of in-store shopping will make a comeback this fall and winter holiday season, despite the continuing spread of the new crown pneumonia epidemic.


According to Accenture's 15th Annual Holiday Day Shopping Survey, more than half (54%), including 70% of Gen Z consumers (ages 9 to 23), plan to shop in-store during this year's festive season.


Surprisingly, 54% of Baby Boomers (ages 57 to 75) expect to do most of their shopping online.



In addition, 25% of consumers, including 42% of younger Millennials (ages 24 to 41), say that factors such as cooking classes, Christmas carolers and children's play areas will be more likely to attract them to retailers to shop in physical stores.


The epidemic that occurred last year compressed changes that previously took years to achieve into a matter of weeks," said Oliver Wright, senior managing director and global consumer goods and services industry group leader at Accenture.



For example, the new crown epidemic forced the older generation to overcome their hesitancy and shop online, and our findings identify this ongoing trend.


Younger consumers, on the other hand, have become very proficient at shopping online - but they seem to be seeking services and experiences that go beyond shopping.


Retailers and consumer goods companies must capitalize on these behavioral shifts and advance their reinvention in order to participate in a diverse, multigenerational marketplace comprised of millions of people."



This Accenture survey of more than 1,500 U.S. consumers shows that 34 percent (52 percent of young millennials overall) are concerned about inventory availability and are unable to purchase the holiday items they want and need.


A similar number (34%) noted that they planned to do their holiday shopping earlier this year.


In addition, 36% of consumers said they noticed empty shelves while shopping in-store, and 26% said they noticed more inventory while shopping online this year.


In a parallel survey involving 120 U.S. retail executives, 99% of respondents said they have done things differently this year to ensure inventory availability. 52% said they have taken extraordinary measures.



Order fulfillment and inventory protection will be among the biggest challenges during the holiday season, and many brands may find themselves understaffed during peak periods, potentially leading to longer lines and empty shelves," said Jill Standish, senior managing director and global retail industry group leader at Accenture. This can lead to longer lines and empty shelves, adding to customer frustration.



Retailers need to expand their scenario planning so that they can model the unpredictability of cross-border logistics delays and the impact of cost increases on margins and retail prices.


This also involves analyzing inventory management data to develop different models to respond to demand surges and mitigate costly out-of-stock scenarios."



Accenture's current annual holiday shopping survey found that consumers plan to spend an average of $598 this holiday season, compared to $539 last year.


The majority (71%) say they plan to spend more than last year to celebrate the holidays.


Older Millennials (ages 32-39) are expected to spend an average of $705, the highest of any age group.



Other highlights from this survey are as follows.


- 43% of consumers expect fast, free shipping on online orders (up from 40% last year), and seven in ten (70%) say they are likely to be enticed to shop at a retailer that offers in-store delivery of their purchases rather than a store that does not offer this service.



- One-third of consumers will stop using wrapping paper this holiday season for environmental reasons. In addition, 23 percent of consumers will buy materials and accessories for homemade gifts this year, and 37 percent say buying "used" clothing is something they are likely to do, rising to 50 percent of consumers under 40.


- Seventy-five percent of consumers plan to buy holiday gifts for close relatives, and 41 percent plan to buy gifts for neighbors, co-workers and friends. This "generosity of spirit" may extend beyond the home, as 70 percent plan to make charitable donations this year.



- The study also highlights a strong desire to support their local communities, with 58 percent of consumers looking to buy from local and independent retailers.


Jill Standish said, "Our research shows that events of the past year may influence the spending habits of different generations this holiday season.




Retailers need to respond by maintaining strict enforcement of security protocols and leveraging the shopping temperament of each community they are trying to serve.


This requires enhanced local decision-making with the help of analytical tools to uncover changing market conditions and evolving behavioral patterns."

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