Northwest consumers want to ditch Black Friday lines

Washington State University’s Carson College of Business found that Pacific Northwest consumers are ditching Black Friday lines for the convenience of Cyber Monday this year.

According to the second annual holiday retail survey, 72 percent of consumers in the region are likely to shop on Cyber Monday, while only 55 percent want to shop on Black Friday.

“We’ve seen an intriguing shift in consumer behavior with the pervasive use of technology in the retail industry,” said Joan Giese, WSU clinical associate professor. “Instead of getting to stores on Thanksgiving and waiting in line for hours to get the best Black Friday bargains, shoppers can spend time with family while also snapping up savings online.”

The survey, which examined more than 1,000 PNW consumers’ perceptions and attitudes toward the holiday shopping season, sought to understand how and where consumers are planning to do their shopping this year. Results showed online shopping is becoming increasingly popular for holiday sales – with an overall 60 percent of consumers preferring to shop on Cyber Monday instead of Black Friday. Of the 55 percent who still plan to shop on Black Friday, 66 percent say it will be online.

Key Findings Include:

  • Cyber Monday is edging out Black Friday and Thanksgiving sales.
  • 72 percent of PNW residents will shop on Cyber Monday, and three in five prefer shopping Cyber Monday rather than Black Friday.
  • 50 percent of Cyber Monday shoppers will be shopping at work.
  • Black Friday continues to lose its allure
  • Seven in 10 consumers reporting they would much rather do something else than shop on Black Friday.
  • 58 percent say they are over Black Friday and can get those deals anywhere, anytime.
  • 84 percent of people feel that Black Friday used to be an event; now it’s an entire week.
  • People want to refocus Thanksgiving on family:
  • 87 percent agree Thanksgiving is about spending time with family, not shopping.
  • 78 percent appreciate stores that stay closed on Thanksgiving.
  • 62 percent agree that Black Friday steals Thanksgiving’s thunder.
    While the findings reveal a bleak picture for in-store sales on Black Friday, Gen Z provides a ray of hope.
  • 67 percent of Gen Z respondents are planning to shop Black Friday this year.
  • Over half (54 percent) disagreed with the statement: “If I’m shopping on Black Friday, it’s going to be online,” alluding that most Gen Z Black Friday shoppers will be hitting up in-store locations.
  • 48 percent of Gen Z report doing most or all their shopping in-store, compared to 37 percent of millennials.
  • 81 percent of Gen Z like to shop in-store so they can try items on and 68 percent say shopping in-store is fun.
  • Whether online or in-store, holiday shopping is still believed to be cost effective and local.
  • 89 percent of people think there is no need to spend a fortune on holiday gifts, and 64 percent appreciate the ability to compare prices online.
  • 66 percent of people will shop locally in-store, with 50 percent planning to support Small Business Saturday.
  • 80 percent of people are more likely to shop at a particular store if the company has a positive impact on the community.
  • 73 percent of people will only drive up to an hour to shop this holiday season.

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Joanna Yorke is the managing editor of the Vancouver Business Journal. She has worked in the journalism field since 2010 after graduating from the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University in Pullman. Yorke worked at The Reflector Newspaper in Battle Ground for six years and then worked at and helped start ClarkCountyToday.com.