Where will you shop this holiday season? North Carolina weighs in for High Point University’s Black Friday poll

North Carolina News

(WGHP) — Will you spread your green on Black Friday?

Research by High Point University suggests that more likely you will tap your keys and hit send rather than to stand in line in a store and hand your money to a clerk – particularly on the day after Thanksgiving.

And that’s all part of the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

A High Point University Poll shows that 37% of us plan to do our Christmas shopping online, and fewer than 1 in 5 (18%) will go into stores the old-fashioned way.

Everyone else who responded – about 1 in 3 – say they would divide their shopping through both processes.

Black Friday – traditionally when retailers have tried to lure shoppers inside their stores with early bird hours, deeper discounts and marketing hard-to-get items – is particularly affected, with about 28% saying they will shop that day and 56% saying they definitely would not.

HPU’s pre-pandemic poll in 2019 showed 38% would shop on Black Friday, and 53% said they would not.

This year’s poll consisted of both telephone and online interviews of 968 adults in North Carolina between Oct. 22 and Nov. 4. Its credibility variance is plus or minus 3.3%.

HPU’s report did not break down shopping plans or trends by age, but Marketwatch.com reported that the 15th annual Holiday Shopping Survey by Accenture shows that most in-store shoppers – about 70% – will be members of Generation Z, which are people born after 1996. But Baby Boomers – you know who they are – dominate online shopping, with 54% planning to use the digital store.

COVID-19 as a factor

HPU says about 51% of adults cited COVID-19 as at least somewhat a factor in deciding where to shop. About 19% said the disease caused by the novel coronavirus mattered a lot, and 20% said it mattered “some.” Another 16% said mattered “a little.” About 4 in 10 said it wasn’t much of a factor at all.

They also said the virus would affect their holiday spending, with 54% saying the virus affected spending at least a little bit. One in 5 of those respondents said it factored “a lot.”

“Along with the ongoing return to normalcy, we see some return to brick-and-mortar shopping,” Dr. Daniel Hall, interim dean of the Earl N. Phillips School of Business at HPU, said in a release announcing the data. “This return, however, is not happening on Black Friday, which historically refers to brick-and-mortar, and Cyber Monday to online shopping. Some may be shopping earlier than Black Friday in anticipation of supply chain constraints.”

Spending to rise

Still, as national trends have predicted, respondents said they would be spending about the same or more this holiday season and that they would be shopping earlier, perhaps because of fears caused by problems with the retail supply chain.

About 1 in 5 (21%) said they would be spending more, and 42% said they would be spending about the same. And 1 in 3 said they would be spending less this holiday. About 1 in 3 said they would be starting their shopping earlier this year.

The National Retail Federation is projecting a record rise in holiday spending of 8.5% to 10.5% in November and December above what it was in 2020, and Deloitte forecasts a 7% to 9% increase from November to January.

The National Retail Federation says such an increase would push sales to at least $843.4 billion. In 2020 that figure was $777.3 billion. Those totals don’t include auto dealers, gasoline or restaurants.

The NRF’s data did not include how this might break down per-person, but HPU asked its respondents how much they plan to spend this holiday season.

The average of the 804 responses was $744, which included gifts, food, decorations and other items related to celebrating a holiday.

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