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Pandemic habits show up in Deloitte survey of Dallas-Fort Worth holiday shoppers

This story, originally published in The Dallas Morning News, is reprinted as part of a collaborative partnership between The Dallas Morning News and Texas Metro News. The partnership seeks to boost coverage of Dallas’ communities of color, particularly in southern Dallas.

D-FW shoppers will spend more on gifts this year as people can gather more than last year. But they’re not tapering off their online shopping.
A Large Christman Sign
A large Christmas sign on display at the At Home store on Hwy. 121 in Plano.(Stewart F. House / Special Contributor)

By Maria Halkias

Dallas-Fort Worth residents have started their holiday shopping earlier and are worried about online orders arriving on time.

The pandemic overhang has sealed some shopping habits while other patterns were temporary, according to results of a Deloitte survey of D-FW shoppers released on Friday.

The survey results track some popular themes of the stay-at-home economy that dominated last year. Pet spending is down this year and shoppers say they plan to spend more on clothing than they did last year when few wardrobes needed updating just to stay home.

The Deloitte survey is the second one released this week that says people are less interested in shopping on Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Adobe Analytics’ new forecast released Wednesday found the same trend.

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Overall, 41% of respondents and 43% of low-income shoppers said they aren’t shopping on the traditional big days, said Sam Loughry, Deloitte’s retail leader in the Dallas office.

That’s up significantly — by about 12 percentage points — from last year.

Last year, Black Friday was pretty dead in stores as the crowds stayed home due to the pandemic and retailers accommodated them instead with deals online.

And this year, the lack of interest in the Black Friday and Cyber Monday may partly be because holiday shopping is starting earlier. About 63% said they’re going to shop before Thanksgiving, even earlier than last year, due to supply chain worries, Loughry said.

Almost half of shoppers are anticipating out-of-stock items and believe the hardest-hit categories will be electronics (53%) and toys (37%).

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Holiday Shoping

But spending in D-FW is holding up, Loughry said. On average, local households said they will spend $1,586, or 7% higher than the national average of $1,463. Local residents plan to spend about 4% less than last year when they doubled down on items for the home, but the forecast is up 11% from 2019.

“Folks in D-FW said their financial situation has held steady more than the national average and they plan to spend more on gifts this year than last year,” Loughry said. About 78% said their household finances are the same or better than last year vs. 68% a year ago.

And online shopping habits have firmed up, he said. D-FW shoppers said they are planning to spend 60% of their holiday budgets online.

About 77% of D-FW shoppers say they continue to be motivated by free shipping and are willing to wait almost a week for a package to arrive. Almost a third (31%) said they will pay an average of about $6 for same-day delivery but won’t pay for delivery times of 3 to 7 days.

About 30% of shoppers are planning to use the buy-online-and-pick-up-in-store option, about the same as last year and slightly down from 38% in 2019.

Maybe they’ve learned that they don’t even have to get out of the car: 26% of shoppers plan to use curbside pickup, down slightly from 29% last year but well above 2019, when only 16% said they would use the service. More stores have adopted curbside pickup, and more shoppers tried it during the pandemic.

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This year, Deloitte also asked the CEOs of 30 retail companies with annual sales of at least $1 billion to respond to a survey.

“They said there will be fewer promotions (discounts) and prices will be higher,” Loughry said.

Sounds like another reason to just shop early and buy what’s in stock.

Twitter: @MariaHalkias
Looking for more retail coverage? Click here to read all retail news and updates. Click here to subscribe to D-FW Retail and more newsletters from The Dallas Morning News.

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