The holiday shopping season is officially here and retailers are discovering that buying behaviors are changing, as evidenced by a far more sane, far less frenzied in-store Black Friday experience than in years past.
That’s because there was far less foot track in stores than last year. According to a survey by the National Retail Federation, 44 percent of consumers shopped online and 40 percent of shoppers left home to visit brick-and-mortar locations.
There were also more consumers overall shopping for deals during this year’s Thanksgiving weekend than there were in 2015. The survey revealed that more than 154 million shoppers took advantage of sales and promotions, up from 151 million shoppers in 2015.
Yet, even though more people made purchases, spending was down 3.5 percent from last year, and the reason for that was there were so many amazing bargains to take advantage of.
“It was a strong weekend for retailers, but an even better weekend for consumers, who took advantage of some really incredible deals,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “In fact, over one third of shoppers said 100% of their purchases were on sale…People are more deliberate about the purchases they make. …The era of promotional sales is with us to stay.”
Macy’s, for example, made a point of being prepared for this new “era” of online and in-store consumer spending by developing a “clean inventory” strategy.
“Last year going into the fourth quarter, there was a higher inventory than planned and sales didn’t materialize,” said Macy’s chief executive Terry Lundgren. “There was lots of leftover inventory from the third quarter clogging aisles for the fourth quarter.”
Holiday shoppers expect holiday deals. Clearly, inventory management is key if retailers want to meet those holiday expectations.