Holiday Shopping

The Holiday shopping season is off and running! Regardless of whether you spent Thanksgiving sleeping outside in the cold to be first in line for black Friday or simply made a few quick mobile purchases while cozy at home in the front of the fire, chances are you may have already made some sort of holiday season purchase.

So with the first week of shopping frenzy almost behind us, what do we know about the trends and forecasts for this year….

According to retail analyst Dana Telsey, despite boosts in online and mobile sales its looking like this holiday season is off to perfectly average start with forecasts indicating similar sales likely extending through the rest of the year. Was it all the hype and early promotions that dampened sales or more indication that people are increasingly shopping online? Probably a combination of both.

Black Friday, Thursday, Wednesday, Tuesday, Monday…and Cyber SUNDAY!
Retailers have increasingly pushed up promotion periods leading up to the traditional post-Thanksgiving shopping frenzy, so the urgency to shop on any one specific day (either in person or on line) has been diminished over the years. This year was no exception. I think we can all attest to the “Black Friday” specials that seem to flood our email inboxes starting weeks before the actual day. It’s not say that holiday shopping excitement will lessen because of this trend, BUT people will feel less tied to a specific day (or days). Consumers are also getting increasingly savvy and know that sales will often extend well into the shopping period—sometimes even better, last minute—so, why rush?!

It’s all about mobile, but…
According to Adobe Systems Inc., which follows purchases across 4,500 U.S. locations, more than half of Black Friday shopping occurred via mobile devices this year. While no one can discredit the gains mobile shopping has seen, it seems that when shoppers use smaller screens they tend to also make smaller purchases. According to Lucinda Duncalfe, chief executive of Monetate, a retail personalization provider, “We see consumers making smaller impulse purchases on mobile, but they still prefer the experience and perceived security of the desktop for larger ticket items.” Link: This type of insight is going to prove helpful to retailers moving forward as we see increasing efforts focused on creating a different user experience for online vs. mobile.

So what does all this mean? Not a lot that we wouldn’t have expected to see, but as consumer marketing geeks, we still love to see the data roll in! At this point, unless you have been living under a rock the last decade, we all know that online and mobile continue to denominate the consumer landscape—both from actual purchases and comparison shopping. Retailers that haven’t embraced this fact are increasing falling behind and are likely to fall off completely over the next few years.

Interestingly enough however, it seems where gains may be made in terms of Brick and Mortar shopping, is at the local level. Initiatives like Small Business Saturday, promoted extensively by American Express as well as consumers’ increasing interest in personalized service and a desire to support their communities, are just a few of the factors behind this latest surge in local business sales. As an agency that supports and represents many small, local businesses, this is a trend we only hope continues! So what’s next? Will we all put down our phones and actually take the time to return to stores? It seems on the local level that may already be happening…

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