I wrote some of my early holiday expectations here. Here are few additional thoughts and things of note:
In my previous post, I mentioned ShopperTrak’s forecast suggesting retail sales would be up 3.3 percent while store traffic would be up 2.8 percent (after being down 2.2 percent last year). In their same forecast, ShopperTrak estimates traffic at electronics and appliance stores will be down a whopping eight percent, though sales will be up 1.5 percent. It is worth noting, ShopperTrak expects electronics and appliances to under-perform overall retail during the holiday season. As I’ve said before, with slack in the labor market and weak income growth, spending growth in one category will come at the cost of spending in another category. Until we can get solid income growth, we are going to continue to be in a near zero-sum spending environment.
- early openings again this year (as I mentioned in my previous post)
- stock levels on promotion items to be less than demand
- the use of social media: look for exclusive deals on facebook pages and through Twitter account
Adding a few more prediction of my own to those I included in my last post:
- More Black Friday Deals Saved for the Last Minute. In recent years, more and more Black Friday ad circulars are “leaked” prior to the sales events. In the past, retailers have tried to combat this head-on with take-down notices. In 2012, I think you’ll see more retailers combat leaked circulars indirectly by releasing the details of some promotions only hours before the stores open to those standing in line outside the store.
- Timed deals to be released throughout Black Friday weekend. Traditionally, retailers release all of their Black Friday deals when the store opens. With longer store hours, I expect to see some retailers release deals throughout Black Friday and the remainder of the weekend so they can drive traffic across the entire weekend and not just when the store opens. This will combat the lull that typically takes place in the middle of the day on Black Friday.
- Promoting Hot Tech Items with Gift Card Bundles. Tablets and smartphones are going to top gift lists this holiday season. Because many of these products maintain a tight minimum advertised price (MAP), I expect retailers to promote bundles where consumers get a “free” $25 or $50 gift card with the purchase of the product.