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Seventy-two percent of U.S. consumers expect their holiday spending to be ‘careful’ or ‘controlled’ in 2011, according to Accenture’s annual consumer holiday shopping study. “While 88 percent of shoppers intend to spend the same or less than last year, 71 percent of those respondents earning more than $100,000 expect to spend over $500 on gifts this holiday season, indicating that high-income shoppers may provide a boost to retailers this season,” the study says.

The Accenture Holiday Shopping Survey found that, “while discount stores still remain the top holiday shopping destination, their dominant position is beginning to fade. 73 percent of respondents say that they will shop at a discount retailer this year, compared to 81 percent last year and 85 percent in 2009. Despite this, discounts will still provide the biggest incentive for consumers during the 2011 holiday shopping season as 93 percent say that discounts are important this year.
“The importance of ‘Black Friday’ also continued to slide downwards with the results suggesting that this year’s turnout at stores could be the lowest in three years. 44 percent of consumers say that they are likely to shop on Black Friday, compared to 47 percent in 2010, and 52 percent in 2009.”

“This holiday season will see the balance of power continue to tip in favor of the consumer,” said Janet Hoffman, managing director of Accenture’s Retail practice. “‘Precision shoppers’ will dominate. They will be very targeted about where and what they buy, and will be more inclined to shop around for the best value. Stores should focus on providing an experience and services that create a sense of extra value in the mind of the shopper."
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