Fewer plan to shop on Black Friday 2011, survey finds. What do they know?
Forty-four percent of Americans plan to shop on Black Friday 2011, a new survey shows. That compares with 47 percent in 2010 and 52 percent in 2009. Today's shoppers have more bargain-hunting tools.
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“Retailers may not get as much coal in their stocking this holiday season, but they will still need a miracle to get the cash registers ringing,” says Jane Bailey of TPN, a retail marketing agency, in a statement. While their forecasters predict a 2 to 3 percent increase over last year’s retail sales, many retailers placed orders for holiday merchandise last spring, when it looked as if the economy was on the upswing, says Ms. Bailey.Skip to next paragraph
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With the subsequent debt-limit clash over the summer and this week's failure of the congressional deficit-cutting “super committee” to devise a plan, “retailers aren’t certain if consumers are feeling confident enough to shop,” she says. “If overstocked with items, retailers will have to slash prices to move merchandise, causing lower sales.” [Editor's note: The original attribution of the source in the preceding two paragraphs was incorrect and has been changed.]
Also on the side of consumers are new Internet destinations and iPad/iPod apps. One, Decide.com, calculates the best time to buy consumer electronics, using broad surveys of what brick-and-mortar stores and e-tailers are offering. In-store consumers can just scan the product’s barcode – or do a search by model number – for an instant analysis of whether to buy now or wait.
“A one-second search can save you hundreds of dollars and the pain that comes with buying the wrong product at the wrong time,” says Mike Fridgen, CEO of Decide.com.
His company’s advice? “Sleep in on Black Friday. While some products are offered at a deep discount, most [consumer electronics] products hit their lowest prices in early December, well after the hype of Black Friday or Cyber Monday,” he says.
What all this research shows about 2011 America is that Black Friday is not nearly as green as it once was, explains Richard Laermer, CEO of RLMpr and author of “Trend Spotting 2011.”
"Christmas consumers are mostly waiting 'til desperate retailers pull out all the stops and literally beg them to shop – at the lowest possible rate. The media hype spending as big-big during holidays – what else are they going to do, act like Grinches? My research demonstrates that even those fortunate enough to have expendable income – not a very high number of citizens – are unsure about their financial situation during this tumultuous coming year. Political infighting, riots on streets, mass layoffs, and corporate closings are not making it a happy holiday thus far, so spending will undoubtedly decrease. We will buy presents, for sure, but for those who deserve it the most or who will guilt us if we don't."
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