Agile Insights Blog

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Holiday Shoppers Just Don’t Care If Retailers Open On Thanksgiving

Nov 18, 2015 2:21:22 PM

Holiday shopping represents a massive revenue opportunity, and there’s intense pressure for retailers to differentiate in a crowded market to capture holiday shoppers.

But should retailers open their doors on Thanksgiving Day? Everyone has an opinion, yet no one really agrees on the answer.

On one hand, it could be a savvy move to attract shoppers who’d like to burn off their turkey and stuffing by engaging in America’s favorite competitive sport – bargain hunting. The majority of brick-and-mortar stores remain closed on Thanksgiving, so the assumption could be made that staying open could represent a huge opportunity.

On the other hand, however, is a brewing consumer dissatisfaction with this trend, saying that retailers are disrespecting the importance of family time during the holiday, especially for their employees.

And then there are those that say it doesn’t really matter if stores open, because everyone jumps online to shop on Thanksgiving anyway.

At Vennli, we demand data! We went straight to the source to understand what drives the choices of holiday shoppers and discovered some interesting insights about the hotly contested Thanksgiving shopper.

Of our sample of 500 holiday shoppers, a whopping 87% report that a retailer staying open on Thanksgiving would have very little influence on their decision to shop there.

In fact, 27% cite stores that stay open on Thanksgiving as their biggest holiday shopping pet peeve.

So while there’s the opportunity to capture some potential shoppers on Thanksgiving, retailers run the very real risk of alienating an even greater chunk of consumers.

What do holiday shoppers care about?

When it comes to the drivers of customers’ choice about where to do their holiday shopping, ease and convenience play a big role. Consumers want to easily find what they need for everyone on their list – exactly when they need it -- and get an awesome deal.


Retailers should pay attention to the experiential elements that shoppers prioritize. A majority (73%) report that they hate the large crowds and long lines that come with door-buster deals.

Particularly when retailers are trying to capture in-store shoppers, they need to focus on making shopping easy and less stressful for customers.

A whopping 94% of respondents say a key driver in their holiday shopping decision-making is the ability to easily find what they are looking for in stores. Clear displays and easy-to-follow store layouts coupled with lots of variety in products could help retailers win over consumers that want to get all their shopping done in one place – and then get out.

What about Cyber Monday?

We also found that less than a quarter (18%) of consumers complete their holiday shopping before Thanksgiving or on Black Friday.

Therefore, retailers should focus a good chunk of their holiday marketing and promotions in the days and weeks that follow.

This includes Cyber Monday. While 12% of holiday shoppers report that they plan on shopping exclusively at brick-and-mortar stores this year, e-commerce is already playing a crucial role in the 2015 holiday shopping season. Online shopping is at a record high, with e-commerce sales up by over 15% since Q3 2014 according to the latest quarterly e-commerce report from the U.S. census.

However, even with this remarkable growth, online shopping makes up just a slim margin of total retail sales – just about 7% in Q3. That means that a substantial portion of retail revenue will come from in-store shoppers, so the race is on to attract as many as possible.

Will Thanksgiving Day sales attract consumers to in-store retailers or disgust and alienate them? The debate rages on. We’re looking forward to seeing sales results afterwards.

Our next post on this topic will dig deeper into this data and look at how this year’s major players are faring when it comes to the biggest drivers in holiday shoppers’ choice. Who will come out on top? Stay tuned to find out. Happy shopping!

Topics: General

Written by Vennli

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