Most Americans won’t shop on either Black Friday or Cyber Monday this year, according to a Bankrate.com report published Wednesday. Another surprise finding -- men are marginally more likely to shop on Black Friday and Cyber Monday than women.
The survey, which was conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International, revealed only 28 percent of Americans plan to shop in a store on Black Friday. Including online shoppers, 40 percent of Americans expect to do some holiday shopping on Black Friday while only one in four Americans anticipate making an online purchase on Cyber Monday.
So why are fewer U.S. consumers shopping on Black Friday and Cyber Monday? The big-time bargain hunters who used to go on Black Friday are now shopping throughout November and Thanksgiving Day because most retailers rolled out early deals right after Halloween. "People have grown accustomed to the fact that this is the big holiday shopping weekend, but you can still get deals the week leading up to Christmas. So consumers have options and they’re going to shop when it’s convenient for them," said Jeanine Skowronski, a Bankrate.com analyst.
Black Friday customers are expected to spend an average of $399 per shopper while the average planned expenditure on Cyber Monday is $361, slightly lower than its counterpart. A breakdown of the report shows 38 percent of in-store Black Friday shoppers say they will pay with cash, 34 percent plan to use debit cards and 24 percent are likely to use credit cards. For online purchases on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, 46 percent expect to pay with credit cards and 43 percent expect to pay with debit cards, which is a surprisingly close metric as credit cards offer more protection and less risk because funds are not being directly withdrawn from a user’s bank account as opposed to a debit card.
Data breaches have become more prevalent over the last year following Target Corp.’s massive data breach in 2013, along with Home Depot Inc., Michaels Stores and Neiman Marcus earlier this year. Sears Holdings Corp. announced in October that Kmart Corp., one of its brands, had suffered a data breach after point of sale systems were compromised by malicious software.
Following the recession in 2008, U.S. consumers have become more credit card shy. "Consumers are generally revolving lower balances and using less cards in general," Skowronski said. But the report warned shoppers should be careful about which payment methods they are using, especially when it comes to debit cards. “Online shopping is one of the riskiest ways to use a debit card,” Skowronski warned. “Credit cards offer better consumer protections. This is especially important given all of the data breaches that have occurred over the past couple of years.”
The report revealed a few surprising findings -- millennials are more likely to shop on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. In fact, 18- to 29-year-olds are more likely to shop in stores on Black Friday rather than online and they are 13 percentage points more likely to set foot in a store Black Friday than older adults. But there could be a logical explanation for this, Skowronski said. Millennials, who are expected to spend $101 to $250 during those two shopping days, tend to be more tech-savvy and look at price points of products and merchandise on their phones to see if they can get better discounts for identical products in brick-and-mortar retail stores.
“Consumers are well-aware that deep discounts will be offered throughout the holiday shopping season,” Skowronski said. “They don’t necessarily need to brave the Black Friday crowds to score them.”