Survey: 85% Research Online, Then Hit Black Friday Stores

By Beth Pinsker, Editorial Director of dealnews

Online retailers will probably be scratching their heads at this conundrum of statistics: While 85% of people now research and compare prices online on Black Friday, the majority of them then turn off the computer and head to the stores to do their actual spending.

A new poll released exclusively to dealnews by Lightspeed Research shows that 64% of people still end up buying in stores, even though the vast majority of them now research online first.

"No matter how convenient online shopping may be during the holidays, it appears that the majority of consumers still enjoy making their final holiday purchases in-store," said Chris Urinyi, CEO, The Americas, of Lightspeed Research. "We can only make assumptions as to why, but I would suspect that it may simply be that people enjoy the holiday shopping experience in itself, or that the desire to browse and touch gifts in person before making a purchase outweighs the convenience of shopping online."

When you consider that most of the major retailers have some kind of free shipping deal, and many (if not most) Black Friday discounts are available online, it adds up to an overall reluctance to buy items online.

The behavior is not about an unwillingness to shop or to buy. Our survey showed that half of shoppers are planning on doing some kind of shopping on Black Friday, with women and those aged 18-34 coming out in greatest force. And 82% planned to spend at least $500.

For those staying at home, the primary disincentive was, as you might guess, the crowds and the frenzy. The economy was also a factor, as well as the search for even better deals. Only 2% said they were going to wait for Cyber Monday, which, as we noted yesterday, is shaping up to be a weaker day for holiday shopping.

Of those shopping, a full 50% said they'd do some portion of their shopping online on Black Friday, but for the majority of people that means research and not buying. Shoppers now use the Internet as a shopping tool to compare prices, search for deals and read reviews. Only 4% said they never browse for discounts and deals before heading out to buy, and for those who make more than $50,000 the segment was just 2%.

How did your answers stack up again our national survey? Chime in via our Facebook wall.

About the survey: The survey was run on Lightspeed Research's US online panel in early November 2010. There were 2,001 respondents in total. Part of Kantar, a division of WPP, Lightspeed Research serves clients and cultivates online panelists across the Americas, Europe and Asia Pacific.

For media inquiries about this survey, please see our press room.

Beth Pinsker is dealnews' Editorial Director. She was most recently the Editor of, and has been a life-long bargain hunter. Follow her on Twitter — @bethpinsker. You can also sign up for an email alert for all dealnews features.

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DealNews may be compensated by companies mentioned in this article. Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).


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