Why Retailers Are Trying Hard To Attract Holiday Shoppers

Amazon held another Prime Day in October, covering its site with deals. Best Buy launched Black Friday-level sales last month. And on Friday, Kohl’s entered a sweepstakes for the first 200 people to walk into each store, with prizes like a gift card to Sephora and a family trip to Legoland Resort.

With the all-important holiday shopping season approaching, retailers aren’t just competing to attract customers. They are also competing with watches.

For now, Americans continue to spend, fueled by pandemic-era savings and a red-hot labor market. But at the same time, prices are rising at their fastest pace in decades and the Federal Reserve is trying to keep prices in check by raising interest rates. , consumers become pessimistic about the economy. And a recession is a definite possibility.

Some retailers have excess inventory and want to sell as much as possible while consumers are still pulling out their wallets. As such, they are pushing discounts on customers, hoping to entice them to buy before the economic slowdown again causes a change in behavior.

A retailer’s success is critical. Billions of dollars are at stake, and businesses are watching the outcome closely as they make their hiring and investment decisions for the new year.

Target CEO Brian Cornell said, “We are now focused on executing our plans, getting through the holiday season, and putting a lot of work into evaluating consumers and the retail industry as a whole as we head into 2023. We’re going to spend time,” said Analyst of the Month.

More broadly, retail sales during the holiday shopping period could provide clues as to the trajectory of the economy in the coming weeks and months.

EY-Parthenon economist Lydia Bousseur said: “I think it’s going to be very important for the economy as a whole to look at what consumers are doing, because that’s actually going to be the key indicator.” said. “It’s a key driver of growth.”

Private consumption, which accounts for about 70% of total economic growth, is expected to remain strong in the fourth quarter, largely driven by household savings. Thanks in part to government support, Americans still had about $1.7 trillion in extra savings accumulated during the pandemic by mid-year, according to Federal Reserve estimates.

But in September, the most recent month for which the calculations were available, Americans saved only 3.1% of their after-tax income, less than half what they had before the pandemic. We are seeing our savings dwindle even faster than people.

Meanwhile, credit card balances increased 15% in the third quarter compared to the same period last year, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. This was the biggest increase in more than two decades as consumers increasingly rely on credit despite rising borrowing costs.

And a University of Michigan survey earlier this month showed a sharp decline in “consumer sentiment,” a measure of how people feel about the economy and their finances. “Consumers are depressed about the overall economic situation and will become increasingly reluctant to spend,” Boussour said, even though they continue to make purchases.

October retail sales rose 1.3%, better than expected. Some large retailers, such as Walmart and The Home Depot, posted strong earnings in the third quarter, supported by sales of less discretionary products such as groceries and items related to home improvement and do-it-yourself projects. reported to have been raised. “Households are still spending money because they can,” said Aneta Markowska, chief financial economist at investment bank Jefferies. We still think there’s a lot of uncertainty about next year because we haven’t realized it.”

However, several retailers said demand for their products was weak that month, and that when shoppers actually make purchases, they appear to be motivated by sales. Some companies have lowered their financial outlooks or refused to provide forecasts for the next year outright to avoid being stuck in a stalemate. This was not how the end of the year should be. During the two holiday shopping seasons, retailers struggled with the disruption caused by the pandemic. Retailers were hoping for a return to normalcy now that the virus restrictions and supply chain disruptions that defined these times have eased significantly.

Instead, retailers find themselves trying to weather the expected economic slowdown.

To attract bargain-hungry shoppers and move unwanted inventory, many companies are touting ‘value’, with steeper discounts and lower prices than last year, even as labor costs remain high. offers. Many started their holiday season blitz early in hopes of a spike in sales. Target said he had Deal Day in October, and Old Navy rolled out his campaign for the holiday, “Sorry, I’m sorry.” “Value is clearly important to everyone,” Best Buy Chief Executive Corey Barry said on Tuesday’s earnings call.

JC Penney returned to its 5 a.m. Doorbuster on Black Friday to advertise “pre-inflation prices” on products such as Instant Pots, curling irons and coats.

Macy’s CEO Jeff Gennette said the website’s ability to allow users to browse gifts ranging from $15 to $100 seemed particularly appealing to shoppers.

“If you have a product that competes with a competitor and the price is higher, you have to make adjustments for those,” he said.

Retailers are trying to remove barriers between shoppers and potential purchases. According to Jill Timm, chief financial officer of Kohl’s, the chain offers shoppers more personalized offers, clearly stating discounts on specific items so customers “have to do the math”. to prevent confusion.

Kohl’s “makes sure that the offers it provides are meaningful and motivating customers to take action,” says Timm.

As international clothing retailer Primark seeks to expand its presence in the United States, communicating value is part of its overall strategy.

At a recently opened store in a shopping mall in Garden City, New York, Primark executives are selling $11 hoodies, $4 biker shorts, and $20 baby blue bags featuring Stitch from Disney’s Lilo and Stitch. pointed out a large sign advertising Candles are 90 cents without holiday discounts, cheaper than Walmart.

Kevin Tulip, President of Primark USA, said:

Shoppers appeared to be price conscious throughout Black Friday and the weekend.

Retailers slashed online prices for goods such as toys, electronics and computers, according to data released by Adobe Analytics on Friday. Discounts on sporting goods and TVs this year were much higher than last year, according to Adobe data, and clothing prices were slightly lower this year.According to Salesforce, the average discount rate for Black Friday deals in the U.S. is It was his 30%. According to Salesforce, the average Black Friday discount in 2019 was 33%.

Mastercard SpendingPulse data released on Saturday showed store sales on Friday increased 12% from last year and e-commerce sales increased 14% compared to 2021. These sales included spending at restaurants as well as retail stores.

Still, not everyone was satisfied. On social media, people complained that the Black Friday deals weren’t as big as expected.

In San Francisco, 24-year-old Liz Gordon woke up at 6am on a Friday to shop with her parents and sister. It was a “long family tradition” to go to the store that day, and they had already picked out stocking stuffers and small presents.

“Prices are a lot different than they were 10 years ago,” says Gordon. Why Retailers Are Trying Hard To Attract Holiday Shoppers

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