Retailers are preparing for shoppers no longer waiting until Black Friday to get best deals.
Only 46 shopping days remain until Christmas, and retailers are already preparing for a major influx of shoppers looking for the best values who are no longer willing to wait until Black Friday to get them.
Deborah Fowler, program director and professor in the retail management program at Texas Tech University, has tracked retail trends for years. This year more people than ever will shop online and use their smartphones despite concerns about security. Those concerns, however, along with the desire for the in-person shopping experience, will translate into plenty of shoppers going into stores. They won't be waiting until Black Friday, though. Customers are looking for a combination and price and value and will take it when they find it, even well before the holiday weekend.
Fowler is the author of “Retail Category Management,” which focuses on the nature of retail processes and concepts. She has partnered with a variety of major companies, including teaching a class on retail trends as well as a course that allows graduate students to analyze and present a profit-making plan to a major retailer.
Deborah Fowler, professor of retail management, (806) 834-1779 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- Last year almost half of all holiday shoppers reported doing the majority of their shopping before Cyber Monday (the Monday after Thanksgiving), a trend that is likely to continue as more people shop online. Retailers may offer promotions before Black Friday to capture these early shoppers.
- Online sales are up 2 percent from a decade ago but still account for about only 20 percent of holiday shopping.
- Black Friday shopping is down, but overall shopping for the season (which accounts for 19 percent of retail's total annual sales) is up. The reasons for fewer shoppers on what is still the biggest shopping day of the year is more stores are opening on Thanksgiving night or offering good deals well before Thanksgiving weekend.
- Shoppers are researching potential purchases more than they have in past years, and much of that research is done through online reviews. Four out of five people who watched online videos to research products last year looked for reviews and ratings, while almost 70 percent wanted product reviews from “people like me.” Fewer than half wanted videos from experts.
- The National Retail Federation expects an increase of 3.7 percent, but they generally are too optimistic. Growth of 2-3 percent is more likely, with growth of online sales likely to grow 5-6 percent.
- “Brick and mortar stores are still doing great. E-commerce is only about 20 percent of total holiday sales. It has increased since online shopping was introduced, but the majority is still in brick and mortar.”
- “Mobile shopping is the fastest growing channel, but customers constantly move from one channel to another.”