‘Blick Friday’ Online Shopping Holiday Pushes for Stores as Epidemic

2020 edition Black friday The general scenes of bustling shops and shoppers did not line up outside discount chains and electronics retailers. Instead, most people bought online if they bought at all.

Malls and shopping districts in the city were relatively sparse over the holiday weekend in cases of increasing coronovirus. Warning from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to avoid large groups. After years of being open that day, the major chains closed on Thanksgiving. And many Americans had already started their shopping before the weekend, attracted by sales that began in October.

Analysts at Morgan Stanley estimated that retailers’ total Black Friday sales fell 20 percent from last year, based on initial reports of a drop in store foot traffic and an increase in online sales. Consumers spent $ 9 billion online on Friday, an increase of 21.6 from the previous year and the second-largest figure for online retailers, accordingly. Adobe analytics, Which scans 80 percent of the top 100 US web retailers’ online transactions. The firm said online sales rose to $ 23.5 billion in the four-day Thanksgiving-to-Sunday period, up 23 percent from the previous year.

“It wasn’t a Black Friday, it was a fog in stores on Friday,” said David Basuk, global co-head of retail practice for AlixPartners, an advisory firm. He said, ‘This is unlike the previous years. The stores were actually ghost cities. “

The weekend’s early results, which have traditionally kicked off holiday shopping in the United States, show how the weather is being developed by the epidemic. Major retailers began offering deals well before Halloween, a change that was extended by Amazon’s decision to have their annual Prime Day event in mid-October. Consumers are encouraged to shop early to avoid Shipping delay. The chain once limited the deals to stores on its websites and canceled Journey with santa claus To reduce congestion.

Americans were already spending online before the epidemic, but the crisis has intensified the trend. About 59 percent of shopkeepers had started their holiday shopping by early November this year National Retail Federation What was said. Shoppers foot traffic fell by 52 percent on Friday, according to data from Sensarmatic Solutions.

“We have the ability to move around the holiday with us,” said Simon Siegel, a retail analyst at BMO Capital Markets. “Black Friday has been a long time, with only three hours in the morning on Friday. Black Friday was already spread in early November, it also happened only in October.

During the earnings call in November, many retail executives said they were unsure about how many purchases were actually made in October and early November. Matthew Bilunas, chief financial officer at Best Buy, said that “in the third quarter” it is very difficult to actually estimate how much was pulled.

Most retailers operate on a calendar, where the fourth quarter begins in November and ends in January, to fully capture the holiday shopping season.

“We think it’s going to be a long shopping season,” said Target CEO Brian Cornell. “We are going to see very different shopping patterns. We don’t expect to see those big spikes during Black Friday and the weekend. “

Monday sales – known as Cyber ​​Monday since it was concocted in 2005 – Those are expected to be higher on Friday.

But when consumers come in for online deals, Mr. Seagal said, many retailers had carefully managed inventory and promotions and were holding the line at prices that were larger than in 2019.

“People have become accustomed to doors and sometimes deep publicity,” he said. “The reality is in most companies, the headline promotion is the highest, flat for the past year.”

The big question for retailers is how the online sales boom can bring in their profits, as they have to spend extra money on shipping and processing returns. Black Friday was traditionally considered the day retailers became profitable by being in red, or black for the year.

Mr. Bassuc of Alix Partners said, “Retailers’ views on Black Friday are trending in Black Friday.” Yes, there is more volume, but as soon as this quantity goes online, it becomes more expensive for retailers . “

While the number of shoppers who visited each store on Black Friday declined compared to previous years, those who ventured were not in a window-shop.

Craig Johnson, president of customer growth partners, a retail research firm, said retailers experienced higher “conversion” rates, meaning more shoppers in stores actually shopped than in previous years.

“This is a trend we expect to see on this Kovid Christmas,” Mr. Johnson said in an email.

While this year’s results have prompted some experts to portray the death of Black Friday, Mr. Seagal is among analysts who have a clearer view by 2020, predicting that shoppers will return to the stores when They feel it is safe to do so.

“The epidemic will leave us with many new traditions but it is not going to wipe out all the former,” he said.

The rest of the holiday shopping season will be closely watched as a barometer American economy. Millions are still out of work or forced into part-time employment. Overall consumer spending, which drives two-thirds of economic activity, has slowed in recent months with the cessation of some emergency government spending programs.

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