Not Many Americans Care If Stores Open on Thanksgiving

From some of the comments folks write on social media sites, you might well believe that a lot of people care about whether or not a particular retailer is open on Thanksgiving Day. You would be wrong.

According to a recent survey from research firm Vennli, a staggering 87% of Americans say that whether or not a retailer is open on the holiday has very little influence on their decisions to shop at those stores. In fact, on a list of 14 factors that shoppers care about, whether or not a store is open on Thanksgiving ranks 13th, just (barely) ahead of whether or not a store accepts Apple Pay.  The dispute is, apparently, full of sound and fury and signifies little.

The most important factors to American shoppers: ease of finding what they are looking for, low prices, and convenient shopping hours. Fully 94% of shoppers say a key driver is being able to find what they are looking for, and more than 90% also name the other two factors as key drivers.

And how does that translate to online sales? Just 12% of those surveyed by Vennli plan to shop exclusively in brick-and-mortar stores this year. Online sellers needn’t fret, though, because online sales rose 15% year-over-year in the third quarter, and most retailers are making special efforts to boost online sales. Black Friday sales that begin in brick-and-mortar stores at late afternoon or early evening hours on Thanksgiving will be available to online shoppers all day.

In fact, analysts at Deloitte have forecast 66% of respondents to its annual pre-Thanksgiving survey will shop online on Black Friday, more than the 52% who plan to shop online on Cyber Monday. Only 14% of survey respondents plan to shop in a brick-and-mortar store on Thanksgiving Day, while 24% expect to shop online on the holiday.

And in-store shoppers on Black Friday? According to Deloitte 44% of respondents said they’d be in the stores on Friday, down from 48% last year. That is not a trend that brick-and-mortar retailers want to see continue.