Retailers are preparing for shoppers no longer waiting until Black Friday to get best
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.
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.”
The College of Human Sciences at Texas Tech University provides multidisciplinary education, research and service
focused on individuals, families and their environments for the purpose of improving
and enhancing the human condition.
The college offers a Bachelor of Science degree with disciplines in:
Apparel Design and Manufacturing
Community, Family, and Addiction Services
Family and Consumer Sciences
Human Development and Family Studies
Personal Financial Planning
Restaurant, Hotel, and Institutional Management
The college also offers graduate programs leading to the Master of Science and Doctor
of Philosophy degrees.