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Sandy Adds Urgency to Holiday Sales

The Black Friday Shopper, Understood

According to a study, 43 percent of Black Friday shoppers don’t find it fun. yet very willing to fork up a large percentage of their disposable dollars on Black Friday, largely for gifts. The kids are in their diapers and crying, but the family will wait for hours on the checkout line. “They take the entire gang out to shop as a group,” Johnson said. Wal-Mart, Target and Best Buy are the stores they hit first, and they’re well aware of the doorbusters. With a special that goes into effect at a certain time, they’ll make sure to get to the store an hour or two ahead of time to make sure the item is still stocked and safely stowed in their shopping cart. “These are very strategic shoppers,” Johnson said. Fifty-seven percent of Black Friday shoppers find the experience to be fun, while 43 percent don’t find it fun, according to a Black Friday crowd study of about 460 consumers, with an average age of 33, conducted by Marvin Traub Associates for WWD this week. In addition, 42 percent of the sampling said they like shopping Black Friday more than any other day of the year; 29 percent said they like it less, and the remainder were either indifferent or said they don’t shop Black Friday at all. Of 450 respondents, 68 percent said they usually research products and prices in advance of their Black Friday excursions; 17 percent said not usually; 3 percent said not at all, and 12 percent said they didn’t shop Black Friday.

M-commerce Primed for Big Season By VICKI M. YOUNG THURSDAY, 5:23 P.M. That might be the witching hour for when mobile shoppers start their searches for holiday deals. That’s the time that eBay’s research shows consumers are done with their dinner, have visited with family, and are ready to hit their mobile devices for a change of pace and some serious shopping. In the company’s poll of its shoppers, 63 percent of respondents said “holiday sales should start after dinner and 35 percent worry about missing out on deals on Thanksgiving day.” On Black Friday last year, the company noted that U.S. shoppers purchased 2.5 times as many items via eBay mobile

versus their shopping pattern on Black Friday in 2010. “This will be the first real mobileenhanced holiday season. We saw the beginning of it last year,” said Wendy Liebmann, chief executive officer of WSL/Strategic Retail. “In general, we’re seeing mobile becoming the preferred choice for most people.” One reason she cited is that shoppers have had enough experience over the last year to become comfortable using their mobile devices as an everyday tool for more than just texting. According to new research her firm conducted, 47 percent of women were using a smartphone last year to do some online shopping, up 20 points from 2010. Ted Vaughan, a partner in the retail and consumer products practice group at BDO


By DAVID MOIN WHO IS the Black Friday shopper? And what propels her to shop the wee hours of the morning when the rest of the world is sleeping — or even on Thanksgiving Day? “I don’t understand those people. They should be home with their families,” said Terron Schaefer, Saks Fifth Avenue’s chief creative director and judge on NBC’s “Fashion Star” “It’s the treasure hunt. Black Friday shoppers love this game of shopping. They celebrate how little they spent — that I scored this or that, for such and such a price,” said Paco Underhill, founder of Envirosell, a market research and consulting company. But it’s not just about chalking up the bargain. By the end of the turkey dinner, “We have exhausted all of the safe conversations we have with our families. So we go shopping on Friday, instead of dealing,” explained Underhill. “We make it a sport, like playing touch football, so we don’t have to talk so much anymore.” “If you are a kid back from college or on break from high school, why sit around with the parents? You want to be with your buddies,” observed Craig Johnson, president of consultancy Customer Growth Partners. According to a Deloitte online survey Nov. 14 of 1,000 consumers, Black Friday shoppers will hit the stores early — 22 percent at midnight; 46 percent between midnight and 5 a.m. The Black Friday shopper isn’t monolithic. There are three types, very generally speaking, according to retail experts. The biggest group: teenage girls and young women up to age 30. They shop in packs, focus on teen specialty chains like Aéropostale and Zumiez, and are spending as much, if not more, on themselves as they are for gifts. They don’t necessarily spend big, and they regard the outing as much as, if not more, of a social experience, with a restaurant stop or some clubbing on the agenda. However, it’s shopping at its most efficient. “They’ve spent a lot of time researching their favorite stores. They’ll spend most of their time and money in the first two stores they go to,” said Cynthia Cohen, president of Strategic Mindshare, a strategy consulting firm. And maybe they’ll hit one or two more stores where spending tails off dramatically, she added. “They’re buying, not just scanning the stores — self-purchasing, primarily,” said Cohen. “They’re really on a scavenger or a treasure hunt. They know the stores. It becomes a badge of honor.” The second Black Friday type is the “hard-core” shopper. She’s typically female, 25 to 55 years old and with one or two children. She’s hungry for bargains and likely to venture out Thanksgiving night, or early Friday morning. Preferred stores include Kohl’s, J.C. Penney, Target and Wal-Mart. She angles for items that are low to moderately priced and tends to be part of a bluecollar or pink-collar demographic, not high-

income people. “These are serious-mission shoppers,” said Johnson. A subset would be their men, who are primarily shopping for electronics and toys for their kids. Half shop with their wives; half go it alone, or with a friend. In the majority of cases; they hit power centers and big-box stores first, specifically sporting goods and electronics chains. The third Black Friday shopper type is the family. And typically, it’s families that are new to America, have several kids and can’t afford the babysitter, particularly at the holiday rate. They’re on a tight budget

{Continued from page one} sure among retailers to generate revebrought business to a standstill in the nues on Thanksgiving Day, almost half of densely populated New York and New the retailers — 45.7 percent — will offer Jersey markets, and adjacent states, well specific online deals this Thanksgiving. “Consumers are increasingly shopthrough the following weekend. In its first report on the effects of ping and buying both online and inthe storm, MasterCard SpendingPulse store this holiday season,” said Vicki said that women’s apparel sales fell 6.3 Cantrell, executive director of is credited with creating the percent nationally versus the prior year during the period from Oct. 28 to Nov. 10, term “Cyber Monday” for the Monday an improvement over the 9 percent dip following Thanksgiving when online recorded throughout the U.S. during the shopping peaks. Much of this activity is first week of the period. Jewelry sales ascribed to consumers returning to their were off 6.7 percent during the first half offices and shopping online. NRF’s holiof the period but, in keeping with their day spending survey indicated that 56.8 recent strong showing, rebounded with a percent of shoppers, or approximately 7.9 percent gain during the second week. 72 million people, will shop for a holiday “Our research shows that Sandy gift while at work this year. Adobe Systems Inc. predicted that U.S. clearly depressed the start to the early holiday season with the storm signifi- online sales on Cyber Monday would hit cantly impacting the year-over-year the $2 billion mark, which would be the growth rates in key holiday categories biggest day for online sales in U.S. history. over the first week of November,” said Adobe said that would mark an 18 percent Michael McNamara, global solutions jump from the same day in 2011, implying leader at MasterCard. “By the end of year-ago sales of $1.7 billion. ComScore the second week, there were signs of a had pegged online sales for the 2011 edition of Cyber Monday at $1.25 billion, a 22 bounceback in several categories.” McNamara said the affected areas in percent increase from the prior year. Los Angeles-based shopping comparithe Northeast and Middle Atlantic account for about 25 percent of total U.S. son site released reretail activity. The Saturday following sults showing that 41 percent of consumthe storm, Nov. 3, would have been the ers planned to shop on Cyber Monday, first weekend day in the “official” holi- marking a steady ascent from 37 percent last year and 33 percent day season and would in 2010. Responses came normally qualify as from nearly 5,000 online somewhere between shopping consumers. 40 and 50 in the rankWhen the 41 percent ing of retail sales for 2011 BLACK FRIDAY SALES. were queried as to wheththe year. In 2011, the er they planned to shop first Saturday after the start of the season was Nov. 5 and gener- more on Cyber Monday than on Black Friday, which falls on Nov. 23, 58 percent ated about $13 billion in retail activity. “Saturdays are pretty high-volume replied in the affirmative, 30 percent exdays generally,” McNamara said, “but pected an even split between the two and the Saturdays get more important as the the remaining 12 percent said they didn’t season progresses. It’s early enough in plan to shop more on the latter date. And a study of more than 2,100 conthe season that there’s time to recover, but I get the sense that a lot of retailers sumers conducted for are spooked by the drop-off in the first by Harris Interactive between Nov. 6 and two weeks. It sets up a more traditional 8 revealed that nearly half of the responholiday season that really does kick off dents — 47 percent — would spend more more with the arrival of Black Friday money online on Cyber Monday than they will in stores during the rest of the holithan the passing of Halloween.” Black Friday is the biggest shopping day season. Forty-two percent of smartday of the year and just missed the $20 phone owners intend to “showroom” billion sales mark last year with sales products on Black Friday with the intenof $19.9 billion. The increase in Black tion of buying them on Cyber Monday. Recognition of Cyber Monday has Friday sales was 3.1 percent overall, excluding automotive, but 8.6 percent for also expanded rapidly, with 61 percent apparel. For the entire weekend, the in- of respondents aware of the biggest oncrease was 4.5 percent overall and 10.1 line shopping day of the year, up from percent for apparel. So stores will be just 48 percent in the 2011 study. While weather wreaked havoc on asup against not only the weak backdrop brought on by Sandy but also hard-to- pirations for early November sales, indications are that it will cooperate during beat year-ago comparisons. They won’t be without tools to fight the Thanksgiving period. Planalytics back. The NRF/ survey, con- Inc., which provides weather intelducted by BIGinsight, nearly all online ligence to businesses, projected that retailers — 97.3 percent — will offer generally cool, clear weather in most of special online promotions at some point the country will translate into higher deduring the Thanksgiving weekend, up mand for outerwear, boots, athletic wear, from 90.2 percent last year. A record 85 knitwear and pants and also boost traffic percent will offer some kind of promo- for the week ending Saturday. “It looks like the weather is only tional incentive for consumers on Cyber going to be a help this weekend,” Monday, up from 78.4 percent last year. And reflecting the increasing pres- McNamara said.


USA, said, “Mobile [applications] are moving online shopping into a new phase.” According to Vaughan, up to 30 percent of retailers are using mobile apps to highlight promotions to drive traffic to the stores and online, as well as buy directly using the app. He also noted, which created an app just for Black Friday deals for the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. The app lets users plan their Black Friday “trip.” The company, whose app is free, this year released one for Android users as well. EBay’s goal has been to make a bigger push into mobile because that’s where it’s seen the most growth as far as shopping activity. A spokeswoman for eBay said mobile-only dollars transacted rose more than 200 percent in the third quarter of 2012 compared with the same year-ago period, and through the first nine months of 2012, more than 1.8 million new users made their first eBay

purchases on mobile. The company said in the third quarter alone, more than 800,000 new users made their first eBay purchases via mobile. At HSN, Jill Braff, executive vice president for digital commerce, said the firm is launching its interactive gift guide this week, specifically for tablet technology. Braff said “over 20 percent of HSN’s digital sales are via mobile that is evenly split between smartphones and tablets.” The company is expecting a spike in tablet and smartphone traffic. Rue La La has launched its new Gift Center for the holidays, a curated selection of gift items. Using the private-sale model, the sales will be for a limited time. A spokeswoman said the company, which in 2011 saw mobile account for less than 5 percent of its sales, expects that in the fourth quarter of 2012, more than 50 percent of its sales will be through mobile devices.

M-commerce Primed for Big Holiday Season - WWD, 11/20/12  

“This will be the first real mobile-enhanced holiday season. We saw the beginning of it last year,” said Wendy Liebmann, chief executive off...