Black Friday 2011: Study Says Shoppers Find More Deals Online

Retailers are trying to lure the limited spending money of shoppers this Black Friday by offering more deals and sales, and one study claims consumers are increasingly turning to digital media to find the best deals.

The study by Shopper Sciences, a retail marketing and shopper insights consultancy, found that nearly half of consumers polled said they would spend more time doing online research before making a purchase.

New technology is likely to be this year’s game-changer, the study found.

Nearly half the respondents plan to use smart phones to help make purchases, according to the study. The use of Twitter, Facebook and texts can help shoppers find the best deals in real time.

It is a trend that has increased by more than 300 percent from last year’s Black Friday, the study said.

Retailers are seeing that increase translate into more followers on Twitter and more "likes" on Facebook. More than a third of shoppers are connected to retailers online, the study said, citing special offers, deals and exclusive coupons as the main impetus to the trend.

The study forecasted bad news for retailers like Macy’s, Kohl’s and Target, who plan to open their doors at 12 a.m. on Black Friday.

Less than 10 percent of shoppers will be in line when stores open on Black Friday, the study said. Only 15 percent plan to shop in person at any point that day.

The move to open stores earlier this year was a result of customer requests, though, Macy’s Executive Vice President Martine Reardon told the AP.

"People want to shop through the night," said Reardon to AP.

It is unclear how successful the earlier hours will prove to be for the department stores.

About half of all shoppers are planning to avoid malls and large retail stores entirely on Black Friday, the study said. Online retailers may see a boost in revenue this year from deals and sales.

More than a third of shoppers plan to spend more online this year, the study said.

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