Are you getting ready for your holiday shopping or are you neck deep in it already? Along with the post Thanksgiving holiday shopping came some interesting statistics in the news about our shopping habits. Thinking about budgets, credit cards, and cash typically accompanies many holiday shopping plans, and rightly so. According to the November 20, 2010 Suze Orman personal finance show holiday shoppers will spend an average of $689.00 during the season. They will also spend an additional $107.50 on themselves.Another interesting story was the increase in online shopping. This year you may have noticed many more online sales and pre-Black Friday specials offered on retailers’ websites. According to the National Retail Federation: “The holiday season may be merry and bright for online retailers, according to results of Shop.org’s eHoliday Study conducted by BIGresearch. Nearly two-thirds of retailers (63.8%) expect their company’s online sales to grow by fifteen percent or more compared to last holiday season, up from less than half of retailers (45.8%) who had those expectations last year”.Backing up the claim that retailers are planning on a healthy increase in online revenue was the fact presented by NBC news on November 26, 2010. They stated that people who shop online spend 24.6% more than those shopping in stores! Certainly, that has to be enticing retailers to lure us onto their websites during the holidays!Now that we have reviewed how much we are spending and where we are spending it consider this statistic offered by the Suze Orman show as well. 13 million people are still paying for the purchases they charged during the holidays in 2009!The LA Times reported that 23 million people will do last minute shopping on Christmas Eve in 2010. “According to a survey released Tuesday by the International Council of Shopping Centers, 23.1 million consumers, or 15%, plan to shop on the day before Christmas.”The offers presented to us may look very appealing, but it is important to keep perspective about your own economic well being. Paying interest on your purchases for a year, or longer, could easily evaporate the savings you found during the sales. Consider only buying the deals that fall within your budget and that you have been saving and planning for, or find other gift giving alternatives.
The holiday season is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year. Family and friends reunite, people tend to be a little nicer and more charitable, and the magic of the holidays can soften even the most jaded of critics. All the various holidays should be a time of joy and reflection but yet every year there seems to be an inevitable looming dark cloud waiting to ruin the festivities: holiday shopping. Sure there are some who find the packed shopping malls, long lines, mobs of people, and crammed parking lots all just part of the process. They see this as a holiday tradition and if they don’t wait too long they can survive the chaos relatively unscathed. However, for the majority holiday shopping provides huge stress and inconvenience. Time spent battling cars, people, employees, and the seasonally unkind weather could instead be spent with loved ones or by the warm fire with a glass of eggnog. In today’s society we are all about convenience and that is why we are turning to the internet to meet our holiday shopping needs.Online shopping appears to be the answer weary holiday shoppers are looking for. The advantages are endless but convenience of time, money, and effort are topping the list. The e-commerce market (online retail) provides consumers with no limitations to their product searches. If a product is out there you can find it and buy it. With traditional shopping we are limited to what is in the store or our geographical region, and we have to take time to drive and physically search for that perfect present. With shopping online, the perfect present is right at our finger tips without ever leaving the comfort of our home. Even if we happen to find that perfect present in a retail store it might not come in the right color or correct size, but online shopping offers multiple options to their products in a dropdown bar that is only a click away, so customizing what you want has never been easier.No more standing in line outside of a store at five o’clock in the morning to beat the crowds, the e-commerce market never closes. There are no time limitations to when or how long you shop. As long as you have internet access, online shopping will be open to you around the clock, twenty-four hours a day seven days a week. An excellent effect of the ability to browse freely at your own convenience is that online shopping is creating smarter, better consumers. Shopping online gives no pressure to the consumer to buy or settle for unsatisfactory products. It also provides a chance to compare products easily to find the best deal and quality with no effort. And since there are no sales people convincing you that you must buy something, people are much more satisfied coming away from an online shopping experience because they know they purchased something that they really wanted, not something they felt forced into buying.More and more holiday shoppers are realizing the many advantages of online shopping every year. Just this past 2009 holiday season, e-commerce sales exceeded $900 million. Once upon a time, the Friday after Thanksgiving or more commonly known as “Black Friday,” was the biggest shopping day of the year. People came out in droves to kick off the holiday season and spend their hard earned cash at retail stores everywhere. But online shopping is taking the spotlight and even was given its own day and name, “Cyber Monday.” So instead of braving the crowds on “Black Friday” people are finding the same or better deals at their personal computers on “Cyber Monday.” According to comScore Inc., who is the leader in measuring the digital world and a source of digital marketing intelligence, “Cyber Monday” beat out “Black Friday” in holiday sales for 2009. The numbers don’t lie; consumers reportedly spent $595 million on “Black Friday” in traditional retail stores, compared to spending $887 million on “Cyber Monday” in the e-commerce market. The pricelessness of convenience is actually pushing people to spend more during the holiday season.An interesting trend in online shopping is the availability of free shipping. Free shipping is rapidly becoming the deciding factor for shoppers in choosing competing online retail stores and it was also the critical driving force in the holiday shopping market for 2009. Free shipping is being used creatively by retailers all over the e-commerce market to entice consumers to spend more. There was once a time when free shipping felt like winning the lottery when making online purchases but now at least 45 percent of all online transactions include free shipping. This makes people feel good and gives them a chance to maybe spend a little more where they would’ve been spending in shipping charges. ComScore Inc. reported that the average order value for an online purchase that included free shipping was $134, whereas the average order value for a purchase that did not include free shipping was about $103. So don’t settle for shipping charges, if you search a little more there is probably a place that can provide free shipping on all of their products.People have accepted that the holiday season should be a stressful time. Most of this stress is a direct result from holiday shopping in retail stores. This doesn’t have to be the case; online shopping provides a quick, convenient, stress-free shopping experience. Online shopping takes the focus away from the time consuming traditional shopping and allows people the freedom to visit with friends and family, bake holiday goodies, sing holiday songs, and the ability to better enjoy the season. It looks like online shopping just might have put the magic back into the holidays.
We are the most compassionate country on the face of this planet. There are those who would think that a bold statement; however, when you consider worldwide contributions in the form of relief efforts and international aid, obviously there is not a more giving country anywhere on Earth. With that said, we also own the distinction of being the most materialistic society on the globe.It seems that we are also incapable of learning from the mistakes of past behaviors because we see this lunacy every holiday season. A Walmart employee in New York was crushed to death early Friday morning when crazed shoppers were so eager to get inside the store that they ripped the doors off the hinges, stampeding the employee and other employees coming to his aid, in the process.In a separate incident at a Toys-R-Us in Southern California, two men shot each other to death after the women they were accompanied by began to fight near the checkout lanes. According to Toys-R-Us officials, as well as the Associated Press, the incident in Southern California was not related to Black Friday, but the tragic result of a personal dispute between the parties involved. This is pure conjecture on my part, but I have to wonder if that dispute originated over a particular toy. Stranger things have happened.Apparently, we have become so de-sensitized to violence and equally indifferent to human behavior that the underlying issues have largely been ignored. On the surface, these were two unrelated and completely unnecessary human tragedies. While the deaths of these three individuals are disturbing enough, there are some profoundly disturbing issues at the root of both incidents.In published reports that I have seen involving the Walmart incident, it was reported that when the store announced that it was closed as a result of the employee’s death, the reaction of some shoppers in the store was stunning. Some customers angrily proclaimed “I’ve been in line since yesterday,” and continued their search for holiday bargains, seemingly undeterred by the senseless tragedy that many of them had a hand in.Have we lost our collective minds? Who in hell carries a gun into a Toys-R-Us? Obviously, some folks do; and now, two men (presumably with families) are dead. Christmas is less than a month away and there are three more families that will spend theirs grieving instead of celebrating as the result of a mindless act of violence and a bizarre accident.Walmart may not be found liable in this instance; although, there were certainly some measures that could have been taken prior to opening the store. Some sort of crowd assessment could have been helpful in avoiding this horrible tragedy.From a legal standpoint (I’m not an attorney), I’m not sure if Walmart is liable or not. They run a very aggressive marketing campaign prior to Black Friday, as do many other major retailers, in anticipation of the busiest shopping day of the year. It is incredibly unfortunate that they underestimated shopper turnout. There is still the issue of humans behaving badly. Have we become so animalistic in our material pursuits that human life is of no consequence?If that’s the case, we are in serious trouble people.
For many people, Black Friday shopping is a ritual. They start on Thanksgiving by getting the circulars that are advertising the sales that will be offered Friday morning. Many people then set up a plan to camp out at those stores, sometimes in freezing temperatures, so they can be the first in line when it comes time to shop and get the limited specials.There is a better, and warmer way to get in on great holiday sales. Use your credit cards.Learn What Your Credit Card OffersMany credit card companies have seasonal specials of their own hoping you will make your holiday purchases on their cards. Take a little time out today to log on to your credit card company website and look for any of the specials they are advertising. You may find a list of stores they are working with to offer something a little extra on your Black Friday shopping. Perhaps they will offer double or triple points or cash back for the purchases you make with your card through select stores.Find the Black Friday DealsNext you need to do a little research to find out what Black Friday deals are out there for you to take advantage of. Make a list of the ones that you are most interested in. Now see if any of those stores are also companies that your credit card company is offering a special savings with. This way you can double or triple up on rewards when it’s time to buy.Start ShoppingOne thing you need to remember when it comes to Black Friday sales is that they start at the crack of early. Generally they begin at 12:01 A.M. on Friday morning, so you need to stay up late (or get up real early) to make sure you can get in on the online deals before they are sold out.Cyber MondayJust in case you don’t get all the shopping you had hoped to done on Black Friday, there is also Cyber Monday shopping. The Monday after Black Friday has become the biggest day for Internet sales of the year and many companies will be offering special sales this day as well.
Here’s the new retail riddle: What is Black, Green, Brown and Cyber all over?Color coded holiday shopping days.Everyone knows Black Friday, the beginning of the traditional holiday shopping season. Cyber Monday is the Monday immediately following Black Friday and was created in 2005 by the National Retail Federation to increase online sales. Supposedly we would eat our turkey on Thursday, go shopping Friday and then shop online Monday while at work or relaxing at home.Green and Brown Monday are probably less familiar. Green Monday refers to the first Monday in December, typically the busiest online shopping day of the year. Brown Monday is the following week and refers to when retailers start dramatic markdowns to push holiday merchandise out the doors.The titles are colorful but how accurate are they?Black Friday has become an event in itself and its start time keeps getting earlier and earlier. But surprisingly it usually is not the busiest shopping day in terms of customer traffic and retail sales. The Saturday before Christmas, known as The Saturday before Christmas, typically ranks first while Black Friday is usually the fifth to tenth busiest day.Online sales do increase on Cyber Monday but the biggest online shopping day is actually December 14th-the shipping deadline to receive gifts by the 25th-which also happens to be Brown Monday this year.Now that you are either frustrated or confused, here’s the relevance from a marketing standpoint:The National Retail Federation identified a creative selling opportunity via online sales the Monday after Thanksgiving. They wisely defined their target market as potential shoppers who could shop online from work or at home that day. They developed a simple, yet memorable message (Shop Online on Cyber Monday!) and utilized a coordinated mix of PR, advertising, promotional discounts, online marketing and word of mouth to effectively communicate that message again and again.Now Cyber Monday is part of our vernacular and online sales have continued to grow that day each year. While it might not be the biggest online shopping day just yet, Cyber Monday could very well reach that goal in the future.Then what?
Most families have tightened their belts this year and Christmas will not be an exception.A lot of people believe they will have to skip Christmas shopping all together. However, with a little planning and wise planning, you can have a Merry Christmas without breaking the bank. There are several ways to reduce the cost of your gift giving expenses. The most cost effective shopping strategy is the Black Friday Dash.Black Friday is the first Friday after Thanksgiving. This day has been popular among shoppers since the first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1924. It was originally a popular day, because it marked the start of the Christmas shopping season. It was such a popular day that the police, cab drivers, and bus drivers started to refer to it as Black Friday because of all the traffic and congestion in town square. However, it is now popular because of the savings retailers offer their customers.Starting in the 1960s, high price retailers began taking advantage of this day, by slashing prices in order to attract the huge numbers of customers walking through the town square. This strategy is so effective that retailers now called this day Black Friday because it is the first day that they go from Red to Black in their balance books.To stay competitive on this day, every retailer from Walmart to Macy’s offer door busters and loss leaders. These deals are usually the most popular items of the season on sale for rock bottom prices. Sometimes the deals are so good that the retailer loses money. They do this because it draws in the crowds. If you want to save money on Christmas, show up early for Black Friday shopping and clear your Christmas list at a reduce price.
Black Friday is a day we are all familiar with, some may not be familiar with the name, but it is that wonderful day of the year that people drag themselves out of bed for sales that start before daylight. You guessed it; it is the day after Thanksgiving sale. The term black Friday has its origins in the early twenties when this shopping day of massive frantic crowds was likened to the mass hysteria of the stock market crash of 1924. In later years, the term was used by police officers and pointed to the traffic jams and masses of people rushing the stores. It was not until recently that the term came to mean the day on which retailers were in the black or turning a profit. At any rate, it is one of the busiest days of the Christmas buying season and as such, retailers will have massive sales aimed at drawing crowds into the stores as early as four in the morning.In order to get into stores, people have been known to camp out overnight so they can be the first ones in. To make matters worse retailers will often only receive a limited number of big-ticket items that have been drastically reduced. This can lead to a free for all of people scrambling to get their hands on an item before they are sold out. There have been incidences of angry people turning violent to get the latest gadget or gizmo that there were only three of in the whole store. Barely controlled chaos is what many retail workers will call this day. Sounds like a whole lot of trouble for very little benefit if you ask me. Generally, I stay away from the store the entire day but one year I decided it was time to see what all the fuss was about. I found out that many of the items on my list were still available and on sale several hours after the initial rush and the items that were not there were very few and no chance of reaching the front of the line. Electronics were the worst, in our tiny department I bet there were nearly one hundred people all vying for one of five laptops that were on sale. Needless to say, that was the last year I got up at three in the morning to go shopping.With all the publicity and craziness people, tend to forget that there is another way to shop. Traditionally the Monday after Thanksgiving was thought to be the busiest online shopping day of the year, earning it the name Cyber Monday. This was probably because few people had broadband internet in the early part of 2000 so many would wait until returning to work after the holiday to do their online shopping. Things have greatly changed in the last few years and online retailers are now offering online sales on Thanksgiving Day! What could be better than relaxing at home with a hot cup of cocoa and doing your Christmas shopping in your pjs? That is a great start to the Christmas season if you ask me.
As every year, this year the big online retailers will capture a big percentage of the holiday shopping. With their huge selection of products and low prices they have secured their place on the market. I will most definitely check their Black Friday and Cyber Monday offerings to make sure I save some money or get a better value for what I pay.So what are the top offerings from the online shopping giant this year?First of all Black Friday 2010 and Cyber Monday 2010 will be a little bit longer than usual online. Black Friday will start on 22nd of November and will continue till 27h of November with new deals added every day. Cyber Monday will be a two day sale on 28th and 29th of November. 30th of November is reserved for the start of the holiday shopping season which will continue till 23rd of December.The main focus in the Electronics section this year will be on the home entertainment products. There will be sales on HDTVs, Blu-Ray players and home audio systems starting on 11/22/2010. Following the 3D craze they will most likely also offer discounts on 3D bundles.The kids are not forgotten and there will be big savings for Toys and Games. Some of the most popular toys’ prices will be lowered from 25 to 50 %. This should help the parents and grand parents with their holiday season budget.For the movie lover online shops have a big surprise. Over 3000 titles on DVD and Blu-Ray will get their prices slashed with up to 70%. This also includes some of the newest releases and bestsellers.Housewives will also benefit on this year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday. 2010 will go away with discounts of up to 50% on a wide selection of kitchen and home products. This includes lots of products anywhere from kitchen knives to vacuums and bedding. The new Pet Tuesday event will carry on sales for the pet lovers on 11/30/2010.
When you think about culture changes, you begin to realize that the good ones become permanent while the not-so-good ones come and go as “fads.” No doubt you can think about what you have experienced in your life and recognized which changes became the new normal and which ones became unfortunate reminders that helped define a decade (you know, those things you remember and say to yourself, “what were we thinking?”). One of the major culture changes that has taken place in the past few years is the emergence of Cyber Monday. In just half a decade, it has made a significant impact on the world of holiday shopping. Online holiday shopping is on the rise and, like Black Friday, will not end up being just a fad that ceases to exist in just a few years’ time.Think about how holiday shopping has traditionally been done. For a very long time, people spread out their shopping during the month of December. Then came Black Friday, where many stores began offering sales the day after Thanksgiving in order to boost end-of-month profit numbers.More and more people began taking advantage of the sales and got most (if not all) of their holiday shopping either on Black Friday or the following weekend. It makes sense: if the stores are going to give their biggest sales on Black Friday, then it’s a good idea to do your shopping then. Since the popularity of Black Friday began, it has not gone away. But now there’s another addition to the holiday sales plan that is rising in popularity as well.Once online shopping became popular, stores that offered this feature took the hint and extended their holiday sales the following week online which began with what is now coined “Cyber Monday.” The deals are just as good online as in the store and you don’t have to fight throw traffic and crowds like you do on Black Friday.Online holiday shopping has continued to grow since Cyber Monday’s introduction and it shows no sign of stopping. Soon enough, it may even overtake Black Friday sales. One thing is for sure: Cyber Monday shows no signs of becoming a fad. Cyber Monday is here to stay.
With the biggest shopping day of the year almost upon us, stores are pulling out all the stops to lure customers in to buy. The economy has taken its toll on many of us and to some, holiday shopping looks almost bleak and depressing. Stores are also lowering prices early to give people more incentives to spend money in a tight economy. So how do you save and get the most for your dollar this year?
Shop Early before the holiday season starts. – Shopping early will help you avoid impulse buys later on. Take advantage of the deals now with stores trying to clear their shelves for winter goods. Find out what your kids want now? Buy and be done already!
Be realistic about your finances and who you are going to buy for. – No one can afford to buy for every family member and all their friends. People put too much pressure on themselves to buy for every Tom, Dick and Harry and only end up paying for it in January when they get their credit card bill.
Search online for Coupons – Department stores release coupons every month, some by weekly and others might do 1-2 day sales. Knowing when to shop and take advantage of those deals will also help maximize your savings. Subscribing to a Coupon site could keep you updated without doing much research. Coupon Websites, have thousands of deals posted daily that will keep you updated and ready for the next sale.
If you are crafty, make custom gifts for your friends and family. – A personalized gift from the heart always has more meaning and can be cherished for years to come. Michael’s have great craft items that you can make yourself. Get your kids involved in making gifts.
Set a budget on how much you want to spend and stick to it. – Once you know who you are buying for, set a budget that will work with current finances. Many of us have been down-sized to one income and you have to keep your priorities in tact, ie…bills, food, rent etc.
Search online for your favorite stores for the latest deals. – Don’t have time to search every store you shop? One place to look to look is Blackfriday info website posts sales ads from more than 50 major retailers. They will have all the Black Friday deals posted from each retailer from the Holiday Season.Having a plan of attack early will help you avoid the pitfalls that most of us fall into like last-minute shoppers and impulse buys leaving you more in debt next year. The stores will have a plan of attack to lure you in, so why shouldn’t you have a plan of attack to make the most of each and every purchase you make this year?Make shopping work for you!