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Source: Internet Retailer Internet Retailer

Retailers aren't waiting for the Thanksgiving turkey to cool

Published: 09 Dec 2014 02:54:11 PST

And shoppers won’t either. Research shows 39% of consumers will shop on Thanksgiving Day, up from 23% in 2013, and most will go online to research or buy. At least 20 Top 500 retailers are ready to welcome them by opening their stores on Thanksgiving Day itself.

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39% of consumers will shop on Thanksgiving Day this year, either online or in stores, according to research from coupon affiliate web site operator RetailMeNot Inc. That’s an increase of 16 percentage points from last year, when only 23% of consumers said they shopped on Thanksgiving Day.

The RetailMeNot survey, completed in October, found 71% of consumers who plan to shop on Thanksgiving Day will shop online with a computer, 41% will shop in-store and 28% will shop online using a mobile device. One-third of consumers feel that retailers being open on Thanksgiving allows shoppers who work on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, to get deals; 22% feel that it gives people something fun to do on a holiday; and 20% think it allows shoppers to get better deals than on Black Friday.

Thanksgiving Day shoppers plan on spending more this year. On average, consumers said they would spend $196 per person on gifts this year, an increase of 17.4% from $167 in 2013. Those consumers said they would purchase gifts for an average of eight people.

And 20 Top 500 retailers will welcome those eager shoppers and open their doors on Thanksgiving Day itself. And while web-only retailers don’t have bricks-and-mortar doors to unlock, several of them are doing the virtual equivalent by revealing their online holiday shopping deals early. For example, Amazon.com Inc., No. 1 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, launched its holiday deals on Nov. 1 and Black Friday deals on Nov. 20.

Those online-only merchants will be competing on Thanksgiving Day with the growing roster of retail chains opening their stores on the holiday itself, instead of waiting for Black Friday.

The list of Top 500 retailers opening physical stores on Thanksgiving Day is below, with their opening time and Top 500 rank:

  • Kmart, 6 a.m., No. 5
  • Bass Pro, 8 a.m., No. 98
  • Gander Mountain, 8 a.m., No. 199
  • RadioShack Corp., 8 a.m., No. 317
  • Walgreen Co., 8 a.m., No. 43.
  • Gap Inc., 9 a.m., No. 19
  • Banana Republic, 11 a.m., No. 19 (Owned by Gap)
  • Old Navy, 4 p.m., No. 19 (Owned by Gap)
  • Best Buy Co. Inc., 5 p.m., No. 15
  • Toys ‘R’ Us Inc., 5 p.m., No. 34
  • J.C. Penney Co. Inc., 5 p.m., No. 37
  • Kohl’s Corp., 6 p.m., No. 23
  • Macy’s Inc., 6 p.m., No. 8
  • Office Depot Inc./OfficeMax Inc., 6 p.m., No. 9/12
  • Sears, 6 p.m., No. 5
  • Staples Inc., 6 p.m., No. 3
  • Target Corp., 6 p.m., No. 18
  • The Bon-Ton Stores Inc., 6 p.m., No. 191
  • The Sports Authority Inc., 6 p.m., No. 262
  • Wal-Mart Stores, 6 p.m., No. 4

Not to be left out, plenty of consumers will still shop on Black Friday, the RetailMeNot survey found, with 21% saying they never miss shopping on a Black Friday. And 56% of Black Friday shoppers said they would shop both online and in stores that day.

Undoubtedly, many deal-seeking consumers will hit up consumer electronics retail stores and web sites. Best Buy spent in the first three weeks of November $9.8 million in paid search marketing to ensure consumers saw its holiday deals, according to a study from paid search firm AdGooroo. That’s almost twice as much as the second-biggest spender, Walmart.com, with $4.7 million. (The spending figures are for 2,500 consumer electronics keywords analyzed.)

Best Buy spent $7.2 million of that budget on Google’s Product Listing Ads—which feature product images and prices prominently in the central area of a Google search results page. Walmart.com, on the other hand, spent only $1.9 million on PLAs. The balance of both retailers’ paid search spend was on text-based ads.

The others in the top five of paid search advertisers this month include Sprint’s retail site (shop.sprint.com) with $4.5 million, Apple’s retail site (store.apple.com) with $3.1 million and Amazon.com with $3.0 million. Amazon spent all $3.0 million on text-based ads, opting to forego Google’s PLAs entirely.

Overall, retailers are spending more on search marketing than they did in previous years, and they’re starting earlier, found digital marketing firm Kenshoo. Paid search began ramping up this year nine days before Thanksgiving, compared to four days before in both 2012 and 2013. Compared to 2012, retailers increased their paid search spending on average 40% over 2012 on each day before Thanksgiving.

By Abby Callard Associate Editor
November 26, 2014, 10:31 AM

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