TECHNOLOGY

Black Friday: Top Five Takeaways

BY By Marianne Wilson

The Fung Global Retail & Technology team visited 35 stores throughout the Greater New York City area and Las Vegas on Black Friday for a first-hand view on traffic and sales. Here are their top five takeaways from their store visits:

Cyber Monday Starts Early for Walmart: Walmart kicked off its Cyber Monday deals at 12:01am EST on Friday for the first time ever, as it aims to grab customers ahead of its competitors. Last year, the company posted its Cyber Monday deals on the Sunday evening following Thanksgiving.

In-store deals began at 6pm on Thanksgiving Day, the same time as last year. Walmart nearly tripled its online assortment to more than 23 million products compared to 8 million last year, with the growth partially driven by the increase in third-party sellers. Walmart’s online sales growth accelerated to 20.6% in the third quarter from 11.8% in the second quarter.

Retailers Repeat Same Deals as Last Year: Several retailers, including Walmart, Best Buy and Target, repeated Black Friday deals from last year. Examples include J.C. Penney’s duplicated discount of 25% off for Nike products and Macy’s $39.99 luxurious cashmere deal.

Some retailers also chose to offer lower prices this year. J.C. Penney’s $7.99 deal for Made for Life v-neck brushed fleeced pullovers was reduced to $5 this year. Some retailers, however, are choosing to offer more expensive prices this year—Target, for example, reduced the discount on family apparel to 30% off this year from 40% off last year.

Tech Influence Felt Across Categories: Tech items were popular even at stores that typically do not have a broad electronics offering, specifically, tech watches at department stores by Apple and Michael Kors. Several retailers featured virtual-reality (VR) headsets as doorbusters.

Amazon was Aggressive on Apparel: The ecommerce company offered 20%-30% off select apparel, jewelry and watches. Nearly the entire month of November was one major Black Friday sale for Amazon. At the beginning of November, the e-commerce giant began to roll out its daily deals and Pre-Black Friday sales, with special offers leading up to the ultimate sales of 2016. Amazon also offered consumers a free pair of diamond studs with any qualifying purchase of $200.

Many Promotions Identical In-Stores and Online: Many retailers offered the same promotions online as they did in-store, including J. Crew, Urban Outfitters and Express.

Several retailers such as Lululemon, Marshalls and TJ Maxx did not offer significant discounts for Black Friday, and instead focused on gifting for the holiday.

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TECHNOLOGY

Survey: Sales, coupons still biggest holiday sales drivers

BY By Marianne Wilson

It still comes down to price.

Despite more modern approaches, 89% of consumers said that deep discounts (including coupons) are the key determinant of what stores they will visit for holiday shopping this year, according to a survey of millennial and Generation Z consumers conducted by HRC Retail Advisory.

In addition to finding that sales and coupons are more influential than any other tactic in motivating consumers to enter stores this holiday season, the survey also revealed:

*Apparel: The apparel category is headed for a big win this holiday, as respondents plan to allocate more than 30% of their budget on apparel and footwear purchases for family and friends this year.

*Millennial and Generation-X parents are planning to spend 40% of an assumed $500 holiday budget for their children on clothing and shoes, versus a small 16% on gaming consoles and games.

*Gift cards: An overwhelming percentage of study respondents will include gift cards in their holiday shopping this year, with 83% of millennial parents planning to include gift cards in their holiday purchases. Thirty-two percent (32%) of respondents who intend to buy gift cards indicated that gift cards will comprise at least half of their holiday budget. In a finding consistent across all generations studied, 62% of all study respondents with a preference preferred to receive a gift card rather than an actual gift.

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Express adds Snapchat holiday cheer

BY By Deena M. Amato-McCoy

To help its shoppers get in the holiday shopping spirit, Express is launching exclusive holiday Snapchat filters.

To celebrate the biggest shopping day of the year, Express will roll out a series of five Black Friday and holiday-themed national Snapchat filters throughout the day on Black Friday, Nov. 25. The Express-sponsored filters include "It Runs in the Fam," "But First Coffee," "Black Friday Beast Mode," "Leftovers are Lit," and "The Party Starts Now.”

Once users add the holiday-themed overlays to their Snaps, they can be sent to other Snapchatters, or added to their “Story.” The filters coincide with the specialty chain’s # ExpressLife holiday campaign.

"Our #ExpressLife holiday campaign is all about celebrating with the people they love,” said Jim Hilt, chief marketing officer, Express. “Now more than ever our customer is not only enjoying these life moments, but also sharing them via their social media channels.”

The campaign will bolster Express’ exposure on the social network as Snapchat has 150 million active daily users, with more than two-thirds of daily Snapchatters creating content every day. "Our national Snapchat filters allow our customers to get in the holiday spirit, while creating and sharing memories through the Express lens,” he added.

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