“Much quieter” Black Friday brings discount hunters on the scene – Portal.com

NEW YORK/RALEIGH, N.C., Nov. 24 (Portal) – On a Black Friday that seemed subdued compared to previous years, shoppers around the world headed to stores looking for discounted electronics, clothing and other items to kick off the important holiday shopping season. and household goods to major retailers.

Brokerage firm TD Cowen cut its estimate of U.S. holiday spending to growth of 2% to 3% from 4% to 5% as it forecast flat Black Friday traffic. Discounts in October and November have removed the excitement and urgency of Black Friday.

“People have already gotten what they want,” said David Klink, senior analyst at Huntington Private Bank, which owns shares of Walmart and Target. “There are only so many big screen TVs and Alexa [Amazon voice assistants] you can buy.

With many consumers suffering from persistent inflation and high interest rates, holiday spending in the US is expected to rise at its slowest pace in five years. Most major retailers have cut their seasonal hiring. Retailers will likely continue discounting throughout the season to avoid end-of-year inventory gluts.

Shopper reluctance – coupled with strong quarterly performance from discounters such as Target (TGT.N) and Ross Stores (ROST.O) – shows continued concerns about inflation and higher costs of living even as fears of a recession fade.

“People are more values-conscious,” said Barbara Kahn, a professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. “People are spending money, but they’re spending more conservatively.”

The National Retail Federation estimates a record 130.7 million people will shop in stores and online on Black Friday in the U.S. this year. But at 6 a.m. Friday, the parking lot of a Walmart in New Milford, Connecticut, was only half full.

“It’s a lot quieter this year, a lot quieter,” said shopper Theresa Forsberg, who visits the same five stores with her family at dawn every Black Friday. She was at a nearby Kohl’s (KSS.N) store at 5 a.m

In Paramus, New Jersey, crowds at the Garden State Plaza mall were lighter than in previous years, according to Michael Brown, a partner at consulting firm Kearney who has monitored shopping activity for 35 years.

“It wasn’t the good old-fashioned knock-down-the-doors shopping event this year,” he said. Mall-goers “carried a bag or two, not the armfuls you would see in the pre-pandemic years. They’re not breaking the budget today.”

Area chart using data from Insider Intelligence shows U.S. e-commerce retail sales from Thanksgiving to Cyber ​​Monday from 2017 to 2023, with 2023 as forecast.

According to a survey of 8,424 adults conducted in early November by the National Retail Federation, U.S. shoppers plan to spend an average of $875 on holiday shopping — $42 more than last year — with clothing, gift cards and toys at the top of most shopping lists stand.

The Black Friday tradition began in the United States but has now spread around the world and is now moving online. The rise of online shopping has reduced the importance of Black Friday as a one-day event.

Data from Adobe Analytics showed that shoppers spent an estimated $7.3 billion online on Black Friday through 6:30 p.m. Eastern Time, a 7.4% increase compared to last year. On Thanksgiving Day, they spent $5.6 billion online, Adobe said.

“I think people will continue to spend money on travel and leisure activities that may be online and not necessarily in stores,” said Jimmy Lee, CEO of Wealth Consulting Group, which owns Amazon shares.

“The excitement of standing in line on Black Friday – there isn’t as much of that anymore. A lot of people … would rather just sit at home and look for deals.”

Waffle chart using survey data from the National Retail Federation shows the increasing number of returns in U.S. retail sales from 2018 to 2022.

DEEP DISCOUNTS

Macy’s retailer to Amazon (AMZN.O) launched deals back in October and will likely offer additional discounts closer to Christmas, Macy’s CEO Jeff Gennette told investors this month.

Whether these deals will attract inflation-weary consumers is the biggest concern for retailers.

Best Buy (BBY.N) is offering between $100 and $1,600 off electronics, including laptops, flat-screen TVs and KitchenAid mixers, after telling investors this week that shoppers are holding off on big purchases.

A decline in luxury spending prompted department stores including Bergdorf Goodman and Nordstrom (JWN.N) to offer deep discounts on items such as Balenciaga shoes and Oscar de la Renta earrings.

On Chicago’s Magnificent Mile, shoppers were unimpressed. Carlos Araejo-Ruiz, 17, was hoping to score a deal on designer belts at Nordstrom.

“When you look forward to amazing offers, that’s an enthusiasm factor. It’s not the equivalent of years before,” he said.

Paul Aheren, 69, driving from Indianapolis, said he remembered the time when luxury department stores had discounts of up to 70%.

“If you walked in at Saks between 8 and 10 a.m., there was a lot of discounted stuff. “You don’t see any of that anymore,” he said. “What they’re doing now is selling off the stocks they couldn’t sell. I don’t think it’s a bargain.”

SPORADIC PROTESTS

Black Friday marked the start of a four-day ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. Across the United States, protesters held sporadic demonstrations with the slogan “Shut it down to Palestine.”

Protesters staged a die-in at a Dallas mall; According to online videos, protesters in Raleigh briefly closed the Crabtree Valley Mall. and in Boston, dozens protested outside a Puma store, a brand that protesters say is the main sponsor of the Israel Football Association.

Puma said it does not support any political direction, political parties or governments.

($1 = 0.9168 euros)

Reporting by Siddharth Cavale, Helen Reid, Arriana McLymore, Katherine Masters, Andrew Hay, Bianca Flowers, Danielle Broadway, Bianca Flowers, James Davey and Deborah Sophia; Editing by Miral Fahmy, Nick Zieminski, Frances Kerry and Leslie Adler

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Arriana McLymore is a New York-based reporter covering e-commerce, online marketplaces, alternative revenue streams for retailers and in-store innovation. She previously reported on telecommunications and legal affairs.


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