Holiday Shopping Remorse

Marshal-Cohen

Despite the abundance of promotions designed to lure consumers to shop early and often throughout the 2015 holiday shopping season, the final sales results have been mixed. In reality, there may have been too many promotions for consumers to digest. A great sale can result in an impulse purchase, and that’s what you want in the world of retail, right? Yes, impulse purchases are an important part of retail success. However, as with any impulsive decision, regret can follow.
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A Holiday Makeover

Larissa_Jensen

Many years ago—during the days of oversized shoulder pads, Member’s Only jackets, and big crimped hair pulled up high in neon scrunchies—the holiday season for department store beauty was singlehandedly about fragrance. This was fine by me. I’m Hispanic, so it was not unusual to receive the gift of fragrance even before I hit puberty. As a demographic, we love our fragrance. But we also love our makeup. At the time, however, other options for beauty gifts like makeup were relatively nonexistent.

Fast forward to today and the story is as different as comparing a Sony Walkman to an iPod shuffle. Sephora aside, walk through any traditional department store and the gift options in beauty are seemingly endless. While the skincare category has increased in giftable offerings during the holiday season, when it comes to ranking high on the fun factor, it’s makeup that has proven to be one of the most giftable beauty categories right now.

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Banking on Boxing Week

darrel_ryce

After struggling through a very soft Back to School period where revenue results for the Technology market were down -7 per cent from the previous year, many were looking towards the next key buying period to help bolster the industry.  Historically, Back to School has been a harbinger for Black Friday.  This year, Black Friday has come and gone it appears that remains true.  Despite the efforts of retailers and manufacturers alike, revenue results show the market to be off 12 per cent vs. an already disappointing 2014 which came in at -6 per cent.     Much of this on the backs of sustained aggressive pricing tactics.

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Black Friday 2015 In The Sports Business

Matt-Powell--for-web

After a morning of retail reconnaissance, this is what Black Friday looks like in the Sports industry.

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The New Holiday Shopping Reality

SteveBaker

For a few years, we worried about the future of B&M holiday shopping and the health of Black Friday. We saw the frenzy and excitement eroded by the lure of pajama encrusted shopping and an endless supply of deals and prices online. But the funny thing was that Black Friday began to morph as the boundless creativity of America’s retailers caught up, surpassing the expectations of their customers. In last year’s Black Friday post, I gave up the ghost and admitted I was wrong that people wanted to shop both in-store and online, that both brick and click-and-mortar retailers, that consumers would eventually come to love Thanksgiving night shopping, and that it would add a new and desperately needed dimension to the holiday kickoff shopping experience. Happily, this year proved I was right to give in and believe in the capacity of the consumer to absorb all the marketing and hype, and still leave their homes to shop for iPads, big screen TVs, and colorful headphones.
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Going Back-to-School To Unwrap Holiday

Marshal-Cohen

For the past 15 years I’ve used the back-to-school season as an early indication of how the holiday shopping season will unfold. Though not a tell-all, it is still a reliable way of determining the general psyche of consumers and the level of discount needed for them to be motivated.

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Mid-December Still Brings Holiday Opportunities for Retailers

Marshal-Cohen

In a recent study conducted by CivicScience, we asked consumers just what they dislike about holiday shopping. If retailers can eliminate some of the obstacles, perhaps they can capture more in-store shoppers and convert them to purchases as well. Even at this late stage of the game, there are still opportunities to have an impact.

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On the Front Lines

Marshal-Cohen

I recently ventured to a local shopping mall with a group of NPD colleagues to check out the post-Thanksgiving retail scene.

Although the stores weren’t Black Friday-esque in terms of traffic, and no consumers had to squeeze their way through doors, the resemblance to Black Friday sales was rather uncanny. Discounts were deeper than expected and deals remained abundant, with many apparel stores offering 50 percent off the entire store, “buy one, get one free” promotions, and free gifts with select purchases.

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Thursday or Friday?

Marshal-Cohen

We now know the answer to the big question asked by nearly everyone following the retail industry this holiday season: “How much of an impact did Thursday’s store openings have on Friday’s foot traffic?”

Judging by the large number of shoppers out today, there may be no losers, though the stores that opened on Thanksgiving may have a slight advantage over the others. Here, on the east coast, the stores are busy. Very busy. Consumers are buying and grabbing the best deals they can find. As expected, door busters and sales items haven’t lost their consumer appeal, and appear to drive a lot of traffic.

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The Evolution Of Black Friday

Marshal-Cohen

Black Friday 2014: welcome to the new holiday shopping paradigm – more hours, more days, more deals, and more ways to entice the consumer to spend earlier.

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Don’t Underestimate the Power of the Pump

David-Portalatin-for-blog

Compared to last holiday season, consumers this year reported that they are more optimistic about how the price of gas/oil will influence their holiday shopping plans. This year, 47 percent stated that these costs will have no impact on their budgets, up from 43 percent last year.*

Amidst all the talk about Black Friday sales, holiday deals, and retailer marketing, we should not overlook the influence that the price of gasoline has on consumers, which I discussed in an earlier blog. Given the national drop in gas prices, the story is quite positive this holiday season.

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Cohen’s Christmas 2014

Marshal-Cohen

It’s shaping up to be a healthy but heavily promotional holiday, which means that retail revenue growth will be harder to come by. Retailers are trying to drive store momentum earlier and they will need to be very savvy when it comes to managing their promotions.

They also need to step back and determine how to use the Internet as a tool and not as a replacement for the in-store experience. It’s necessary to have consumers walk through the doors, and the advantages of store displays and merchandising are incomparable. Impulse shopping is a clear example of the influence this experience has on consumers. The percentage of impulse shopping purchases is nearly twice as high for in-store versus online. Retailers need traffic in their stores, and they need to master how online can work in harmony with in-store.

Here are my top retail expectations for this holiday season:

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The Lure of the Deal

Marshal-Cohen

Halloween is around the corner, which nowadays means the holiday season is underway. As we step into the season, the absence of newness and innovation in fashion—the drivers of a healthy, robust market—means it’s going to be a price game again.

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Black Friday. No Big Deal?

I’ve seen some stories popping up in the press that claim Black Friday is no big deal because it only represents a small percentage of shopping for the holiday … that only 20 percent of shoppers participate in Black Friday shopping.

This is no big deal?  I beg to differ. Getting 20 percent of consumers into stores is a big deal. Not only are they shopping for friends and family, they’re also buying on impulse and self gifting, which is is a big part of the holiday shopping experience. Take big screen TV’s, for example. I can’t say that I’ve ever received a big screen television as a holiday gift, but I can say I interview a lot of shoppers waiting in those lines to get into the stores for those big screen TV doorbuster sales.

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Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow

Those of us on the East Coast were buried this past weekend in a monumental December snowstorm leading some to fear that holiday sales would be interrupted. According to NPD’s Consumer Tracking Service, the regions impacted by the snow, New England and the Mid-Atlantic, accounted for 18 percent of sales for the first 10 months of the year. While this is a substantial amount of volume it’s not likely that a one or two day pause in holiday shopping will cause measurable impact on the final holiday sales volume, even when those two days are two of the busiest days holiday shopping days, the Saturday and Sunday before Christmas.

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