Tuesday, December 3

The Changing Face of Holiday Sales

With Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday behind us, it's time to take stock on what has become the biggest extended weekend of retail sales all year long.  This fact is not a new one this year, but there have been some interesting shifts in behavior ... some created by consumers and some manufactured by brands/retailers.

Black Friday Sales Were Down, Way Down.  It actually turned out to be a pretty bad Black Friday, if you measure brick and mortar sales on that day alone.  Double digit declines.  But that's because much of the sales either time shifted to Thursday night or moved online for early Cyber Monday activity.  We'll have to see the net impact in total sales as the season progresses.

Small Business Saturday Is Not Translating.  Sample size of one here, but I'm still not seeing this amazing concept actually execute at the local level.  I went to several stores on Saturday, none of which were participating in any coordinated effort with the movement or could even really articulate any kind of connection to this new retail "holiday" created in large part by American Express.  I still LOVE the concept, but I'm not seeing it come through.  I think it's having a hard time competing with the noise of the weekend, to be quite honest.

The Rise of the Mission Shopping.  Retailers and brands are NOT going to like this trend, but the industry saw a lot of shoppers running into stores to buy the one hot item and then running right back out.  No impulse buying to go along with the "door buster" and not as much "one for you, one for me" self-gifting that we've seen in the past.  Stay tuned, we are likely to see "Panic Sales" come from retailers trying to make up the volume and the margins as a result.

Cyber Monday Goes Mobile.  This year turned out to be the tipping point for mobile shopping, as the industry saw a huge surge in shoppers browsing and in many cases buying items on their smart phones.  Much more so than any prior year, resulting in record breaking Cyber Monday sales.  Mobile is now a legit distribution vehicle, causing some retailers to also extend the Monday date to include the entire week, giving birth to Cyber Week this year.  Yikes, I'm exhausted from it all.

So ... how was your holiday?  What's your experience?  Jim.

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