Are crowds ruining Black Friday?

    More than half of Americans won't shop on Black Friday weekend, and crowds are the big reason why many will skip a trip to the mall

    Published: November 26, 2014 11:30 AM

    Come this extended holiday weekend, more Americans will be thinking about turkey, football, parades, and leftovers instead of shopping. According to Consumer Reports' latest Holiday Poll*, 53 percent of respondents said they don't plan to shop anytime between Thanksgiving Day and Cyber Monday. In fact, 39 percent of those surveyed said they're less likely to shop at some point during the five-day stretch this year compared with last year, while only 10 percent said they are more likely to shop compared to 2013. (Check out the results from our first Holiday Poll for 2014.)

    Among the 47 percent who plan to buy gifts, 38 percent will be doing so exclusively online compared to 30 percent who intend to shop strictly at stores. Despite the fact that so many of us are tethered to our smart phones and tablets, only one-quarter of shoppers plan to use either or both for Black Friday purchases.

    The change in shopping behavior from mall to mouse has a lot to do with convenience. People hate mobs. Seventy-three percent of respondents who said they have no intention of setting foot inside an actual store this weekend cited crowds as a reason. Men, in particular, are eschewing stores for the Internet. But there are other reasons why both mean and women prefer to shop online—or not at all: They loathe the idea of getting up early or would rather spend time with family—or do anything else, for that matter. Many are also convinced that Black Friday deals are overhyped.

    In terms of when people intend to shop, 34 percent of respondents said Black Friday itself; 23 percent cited Cyber Monday; and 20 percent on either the Saturday or Sunday. Fifteen percent plan to shop on Thanksgiving Day. Here's a list of some of the retailers that plan to be open or closed on the holiday.

    As in past years, clothing and electronics figure prominently on most shopping lists. Fifty-three percent of those surveyed said they're in the market for apparel; 51 percent TVs, tablets, gaming consoles, and other electronics devices; 38 percent home goods and appliances; and 14 percent jewelry.

    While Black Friday might have lost some luster over the years, the weekend remains one of the biggest shopping periods on the calendar, with many consumers drawn to stores not only for the deals, which the faithful perceive to be the best of the year, but also because of tradition. Here's a breakdown of why people still hit the stores on Black Friday weekend:

    I get the best deals of the year

    48 percent

    I want to get items before they're out of stock

    29 percent

    It's tradition

    29 percent

    I enjoy the energy of the holiday season

    25 percent

    It's the best time to get my holiday shopping done

    20 percent

    I just want to get out of the house

    16 percent

    I want to get my shopping all at once

    14 percent

    I want to take advantage of time off from work

    12 percent

    I enjoy the shopping competition

    9 percent

    It's a good way to escape from house guests

    6 percent

    —Tod Marks

    If you're among the 47 percent of Americans who plan to shop till you drop on Black Friday weekend, don't make a move without checking our Holiday Gift Ideas page. And use our Gadget Gift Finder for the gadget geeks on your gift list.


    About the survey: Results are based on a November 2014 Consumer Reports National Research Center online survey of 1,758 randomly selected adults. The data were statistically weighted so that respondents in the survey were demographically and geographically representative of the U.S. population. Fifty-four percent of the sample was female, and the median age was 46 years old.

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