Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 3, 2013 06:39 PM
The biggest shopping day of the year—Black Friday—has birthed a handful of shopping spinoffs, including a less than welcome Grey Thursday, Small Business Saturday, and the wildly successful Cyber Monday—and now in its second year—Giving Tuesday.
Started last year as an antidote to the holiday weekend's retail madness by New York's 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation, #GivingTuesday has now gone global with organizations in Australia, Canada, Mexico and Singapore participating. More than 8,000 organizations have signed up to participate from all 50 US states—a marked increase from last year’s inaugural event that attracted over 2,500 organizations.
Some efforts from major brands include:Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 3, 2013 03:53 PM
Cyber Monday sales set a new one-day record for online shopping yesterday with an increase of 20 percent over 2012, while mobile sales increased 55 perent year-over-year and now account for more than 17 percent of total online sales for Cyber Monday.
Walmart, Amazon and eBay were the day's big winners, as Walmart.com quickly sold out of its entire stock of PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles, with CEO Joel Anderson proclaiming, "There's no way ... that it won't finish as our biggest Cyber Monday ever," according to USA Today. "I think 2013 will be remembered as the year online went mobile."
Amazon offered half-off Mattel and Fisher-Price products, 46 percent off a Canon digital camera and 65 percent off men and women’s cashmere, while eBay promoted more than 80 percent off diamond stud earrings.
Most consumers accessed the deals via tablets, while mobile phones were used most for browsing. Tablets accounted for 12 percent of purchases versus 5.5 percent from smartphones.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 2, 2013 04:52 PM
It’s tricky to find consensus on the success of this weekend’s spending, but one thing is a fact—Black Friday marked the first billion-dollar-plus day of this year’s holiday shopping season.
Accorind to comScore, consumers spent $1.2 billion online, with sales up 18.9 percent this year from last as retailers pushed their open hours from Friday to Thanksgiving day.
"Consumers appear to have responded to retailers' strong push to get them in the stores and online early this year," Shawn DuBravac, CEA chief economist and senior director of research, told USA Today. "The dust is still settling, but early indications point to a weekend of record-breaking online sales and a healthy appetite for key tech products."
ShopperTrak reports that sales were off 13.2 percent on Black Friday, but with more stores open earlier on Thanksgiving this year, and for longer hours, the combined sales of Thursday and Friday were actually up 2.3 percent over the same two days last year. Still, a more somber take from the National Retail Federation puts the weekend spend at about $1.7 billion less than in 2012. “There are some economic challenges that many Americans still face,” Matthew Shay, CEO, NRF, told the New York Times. “So in general terms, many are intending to be a little bit more conservative with their budgets.”Continue reading...
Posted by Abe Sauer on November 29, 2013 03:03 PM
With seven million fewer people than last year expected to shop this holiday weekend, Black Friday promised to offer even greater, more desperate discounts and the subsequent sad, human spectacle those discounts guarantee. A tragic situation for retailers; a feast for the unsympathetic, bloodthirsty spectators of Rome America.
Still, the mad rush so far seems to have been worth it. Early reports are indicating solid consumer turnouts for Thanksgiving day/night sales, while e-commerce is already up 7 percent this year compared to last, according to IBM's Benchmark data. Mobile has appeared to be a strong player this year, accounting for 37 percent of all online shopping traffic and nearly 22 percent of sales as of noon, eastern-time, today.
With sales starting as early as the afternoon of Thanksgiving itself, shoppers and spectators alike still well lubricated with wine, those looking for the melees of Black Friday found it early this year. Walmart seemed to be the epicenter of the chaos but other stores got mentions as well. So here's a Twitter round-up of some of the more notable incidents, plus one development that proves it isn't only Black Friday that's moving to Thursday.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 27, 2013 03:52 PM
America has successfully exported its Black Friday retail frenzy the UK and Canada, despite the fact that neither celebrates Thanksgiving. Apple, Amazon, and Asda (owned by Walmart) are offering their US Black Friday deals to UK consumers at 20 percent off this weekend, while native retailers like Debenhams, John Lewis and Selfridges are getting in on the Black Friday action with what they call "Christmas comes early" sales.
"This shows how online is driving the retail agenda. Apple and Amazon offer deals in the US and they don't want their UK customers to feel cheated," Donald Shields, multichannel strategy director at SapientNitro, explained to Ad Age. "This has obviously come from online—there's no Thanksgiving and no Friday off to go out shopping—but it's picking up momentum in stores as well, and translating into a physical retail event."
With online spending in the UK expected to jump 20 percent to $8 billion between now and Christmas, according to Deloitte, retailers are happy to adopt another US concept: Cyber Monday.
But Kevin Gill, managing creative director of Start JG, thinks the shopping events lose a little luster outside the US, where they just seem like another sale. "It seems a little bit cynical to plug into a US event when we don't have the event that precedes it—are they going to import Thanksgiving next?" he told Ad Age. "It's a more natural extension for U.S. retailers like Amazon and Apple, but Debenhams feels a bit of a stretch. If retailers embraced it and did something special it might work, but just offering 20 percent off is a bit shallow."Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on November 26, 2013 11:35 AM
The blurring of boundaries between Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday may not matter much for long. Discount-hawking consumers, changing brand practices, the inexorable expansion of e-tailing and other factors are changing the whole notion of Black Friday, probably for good.
For sure the days of sacrosanctness for Black Friday and even for Cyber Monday are gone. There will be dwindling stampedes as the doors of Walmart or Macy's or some other chain finally open on the day after Thanksgiving. In part that's because many chains this year are making the jump to open on Thanksgiving night, devaluing the tradition of Black Friday probably forever.
Plus the discounts that retailers used to hold back until Black Friday now are being offered before that once-fateful day, as stubborn consumers, caught in a slow-growth economy since 2008, demand more and earlier promotional activity before they'll part with their hard-earned holiday purse.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 19, 2013 04:55 PM
Despite pulling off a relative comeback in the last year, Best Buy told shareholders Monday that they shouldn't expect the retailer's fourth-quarter results to be hugely profitable. With retailers grappling with slow consumer spending and the prospect of a grim holiday season, Best Buy said price-slashing tactics by competitors will force price margins to get very tight.
The Wall Street Journal notes that “the warning came after rival Wal-Mart Stores Inc. this month revealed a series of aggressive holiday promotions that threatened to depress margins across the consumer-electronics sector.” Best Buy is going to open its stores on the evening of Thanksgiving, just like Walmart and several other major retailers, but it is keeping secret a lot of its discounts so that it won’t be undersold by competitors.
"If our competition is in fact more promotional in the fourth quarter, we will be too," CFO Sharon McCollam said during a conference call with analysts.Continue reading...
Posted by Abe Sauer on November 19, 2013 11:36 AM
Target is hoping you have a holly, jolly, CIA espionage Christmas.
With the holiday selling season looking to be one of the most cutthroat in memory, is it any surprise that one of the biggest names in retail is turning to an ex-CIA covert specialist?
"I really don’t know a thing about merchandising, but I do have a son. They convinced me that a lot of the skills I acquired over the years could help moms treat Christmas like a covert operation," former CIA operative, Jonna Mendez, said in a recent interview with the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. Mendez—a career "Chief of Disguise" for the CIA—will be dispensing advice on Target's sub-site Abullseyeview.com on how her “years spent as a top-secret agent" can benefit parents looking for the perfect Christmas gift.
Target's hiring of Mendez may be a genuine attempt to find new sales tactics amid a grim consumer spending outlook, or it might just be a PR stunt to attract coverage like the Star-Tribune's. After all, the list of shopping tips "from the super sleuth" seem to stem a lot more from Encyclopedia Brown: Boy Detective than from the bowels of Langley, Va.Continue reading...