— Those who would rather choke on a wishbone than
forgo pecan pie for Thanksgiving Day sales or venture
into the Black Friday madness might be happy to hear
that the weekend’s deals may be just the tip of the
2014 holiday season is shaping up to be the most
promotional holiday season on record," said Steve
Barr, retail and consumer leader at
the pre-planned Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday deals
offer steep discounts on select items, retailers adjust
prices constantly through the season in response to
demand and competition, and the frequent sales happening
since the beginning of November suggest there’s more
to come, Barr said.
early promotional activity is a very strong indicator of
the retailer not achieving their sales objective and we
would expect that to increase into the remainder of
November and into the holidays," Barr said.
several surveys, including the widely cited National
Retail Federation report, say spending during the
holiday months is expected to grow by 4 percent, Barr
said a more nuanced economic picture is driving prices
down. His company’s holiday survey divided consumers
into those making more than $50,000, who plan to spend
an average of almost $1,000 on holiday shopping, and
those making less than $50,000, who on average plan to
spend less than $400. The latter represent 67 percent of
shoppers, so retailers have to act aggressively to grab
their limited dollars before they run out, Barr said.
shoppers wanting to seize the best deals, when is the
best time to shop?
addition to Black Friday weekend, the final two weeks
before Christmas are among the most promotional, Barr
said, as retailers vie for the wallets of last-minute
shoppers. Super Saturday, the Saturday before Christmas,
also tends to offer steep discounts, said Pat Dermody,
head of Chicago-based Retale, a location-based mobile
deal-tracking sites try to pinpoint the best days for
savings more specifically, based on advertised
promotions as well as discounts from prior years.
for example, analyzed 1.5 million deals from 25,000
retailers over the past five years and found that,
historically, sales have peaked an average of six to
seven days before Thanksgiving.
for 2014, the report said that while Black Friday is one
of the best days for discounts on electronics, they are
similarly discounted on the day before Thanksgiving.
Discounts on toys are expected to be best on Wednesday,
Dec. 8 and Dec. 19, and shoppers seeking apparel should
wait for Dec. 1, the online deal day known as Cyber
Monday, or Dec. 11 or 18. Books and novelties should
have their best deals Dec. 15, 22 and 23, Savings.com
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which tracks past and current deals across 13,000
brands, predicts that this Dec. 18, while notable as
Free Shipping Day (a shopping holiday when retailers
offer free shipping guaranteed by Christmas), won’t be
tops for savings. The best time for shopping will be
between Tuesday and Dec. 5, DealScience found, when the
number of deals is more than double that of other weeks
in November and December. Black Friday is reliably good
for electronics and Cyber Monday typically good for
waiting for Cyber Monday could backfire. According to
Adobe Systems, which analyzed a trillion visits to 4,500
retail websites over the last six years, Thanksgiving
Day will boast the lowest online prices, with an average
discount of 24 percent. The company predicts
out-of-stock messages to rise fivefold on Cyber Monday
due to increased demand and limited supply, and online
prices to increase the next day.
this season’s savings based on past years is iffy, of
course, as variable factors influence discounts. If a
warm front mercifully descends on Chicago, for example,
sweaters would likely go on sale, Barr said.
each year looks different as Black Friday morphs into a
week-long or month-long event. Many retailers started
offering Black Friday-like discounts on Nov. 1 and
launched their steep Thanksgiving weekend specials
online as early as last week, promoting the offers as an
alternative to standing in long lines.
retailers are good at anything, it’s keeping us dazed
and confused," said Doug Berg, "chief
tracker" at the Minnesota-based price-tracking
is among many Web and mobile services that monitor price
shifts to help people snag the best deals. Shoppers flag
products they want and get an alert when the price drops
(it also alerts customers when an item is back in
stock). People can keep tracking an item once they’ve
purchased it so that if the price drops again, they can
seek a price correction from the retailer, Berg said.
also can see what the prices of the product were
historically so they know how good of a deal they are
getting. Price cuts can be misleading when compared to
the suggested retail price, as many items are never
listed at that price, Berg said.
example, Target is promoting the popular Zoomer Dino toy
for a holiday price of $79.99, down from the suggested
retail price of $99.99, but TrackIf’s technology found
that the toy was priced at $79.99 through the summer and
in October was at $89.99, making it less of a dramatic
deal, Berg said.
retailers will fare after such a promotional holiday,
especially as shoppers arm themselves with
data-crunching tools to maximize their discounts,
remains to be seen.
ensure profits don’t take a severe hit, as they did
for many retailers during the last holiday season,
retailers will need to employ the data they collect on
their shoppers to display desirable, higher-margin
products that people will buy once they’re lured in by
good retailers execute on this very well," Barr
said. "For those that don’t do this well, it will
be a challenging holiday from an overall profitability