Marketing to Moms: Will Black Friday Turn Red or Green this Holiday Season?

October 31, 2010 § Leave a comment

Black Friday (1940 film)

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Has Black Friday turned Trick or Treat? Sears and other retailers stretched Black Friday to a month early start on Friday, October 29 instead of the traditional November 26 date.  Seems shoppers decided to give it a try and scooped up 50% off deals.  National chains like Sears and Toys ‘R Us have planned Black Friday type sales from October through December.   Amazon.com will be offering a Black Friday countdown.

So are these the best deals?  Will shoppers continue to bargain shop or wait until the last-minute sales? Buyers are still only looking for genuine deals.  And what’s a good deal?  Seems like 50% is what shoppers expect from a sale.  Sorry retailers, it’s not longer a 20% off world.  Other real deals are limited time only deals.  Check out the one day sales at places like Macy’s and the Gap.

If sales start early, will Moms start early? They will shop if the sales are real and value is high.  They do their research online and then determine whether to buy locally or online.  That’s why free shipping will be more prevalent this year.  The lackluster recovery finds shoppers still planning to spend less, shop for sale items, and use coupons frequently.

Electronics will be the big purchase this year. Yes, it will be an iPad, 3D and high-definition Christmas.  Electronics are no longer a luxury but a necessity for our homes.  Consumer electronics are expected to rise 4.8% this November to $8.7 billion.

Retailers are all jockeying to get their share of the early Christmas sales.  Typical fourth quarter sales can bring as much as 25-40% of annual sales.  The National Retail Federation predicts that 2010 holiday retail sales will increase by 2.3% from last year, resulting in $447.1 billion in holiday sales.  This is slightly lower than the 10-year average holiday sales increase of 2.5%, but an improvement over last year’s increase of only 0.4% and the -3.9% decline in 2008.

This year, Americans are expected to spend an average of $688.87 on holiday-related shopping, up from $681.83 last year. Shoppers will probably spend more money on fun items rather than fundamentals such as small appliances. Gift cards and clothing remain the most requested holiday items this year, but more people are adding jewelry to their wish lists.  And by the way, we buy $108 worth of gifts for ourselves.  You know you do it!

New Rules means New Tools. It is time for retailers to make sure they have robust mobile apps and Web sites.  According to the National Retail Federation, more than a quarter of Americans surveyed who have a smart phone plan to use their mobile device to shop for gifts, compare prices, research products, purchase merchandise or find nearby stores, according to the federation .

Best Buy has been advertising some deals only on Twitter, Facebook or e-mail.  Belk has been reaching customers through Facebook, Twitter and e-mail blasts.  Consumer Reports also just introduced its Mobile Shopper. With this application, available on iTunes for $9.99, shoppers can scan a bar code and access product and pricing information as well as ratings for Consumer Report’s most popular products.

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