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The pandemic has US consumers re-thinking Thanksgiving Day shopping

By Andrea Byrne

1 Oct 2020

As the busiest shopping period approaches for retailers, US consumers are starting to re-think wanting retailers to open on Thanksgiving Day.

Accenture Survey asked 1,500 US consumers their views on shopping this festive season. Three quarters of those surveyed said they want retailers to close on Thanksgiving Day. 61 percent of consumers state they are to minimise their in-store shopping to reduce health risks to essential workers.

In addition, 41 percent said they won’t shop with retailers that have laid off staff or reduced employees’ benefits because of coronavirus, while 57 percent would be inspired to shop with a retailer that supported their staff and customers during the crisis.

Jill Standish, a senior managing director at Accenture and head of its Retail practice globally, said in a statement: “Our survey findings show that this could be shaping up to be a very ‘human’ holiday, with a desire to support the people who have served our communities.

“Retailers need to respond, there has never been a more important time to be authentic and clearly communicate what they are doing to look after their employees and the wider community.”

Retailer supply chains under strain

The shift in online shopping has only been sped up by the pandemic, with 75 percent of consumers stating they will at least do some online shopping over the winter season, up from 65 percent in last year's survey. While 43 percent of consumers declared they will only be online shopping this year.

“Given the pandemic is still making consumers wary about visiting stores, retailers must ensure that their e-commerce capabilities are up to the task and that they have transparency into demand changes and inventory,” said Brooks Kitchel, head of Accenture Strategy’s retail industry sector.

An opportunity for retailers to bring consumers back into stores would be to organise appointment based shopping, two thirds of respondents said this would make them consider returning to physical stores.

Standish concluded: “This year’s holiday season will be characterised by unique challenges that will require retailers to focus on augmenting and sustaining digital assets, spreading the peak over numerous weeks, and quickly responding to market changes by flexing inventory across the supply chain or shaping demand through promotions and pricing actions.”

Photo credit: Rawpixels.com