Monday, December 2nd, 2013
The holiday weekend stats you need to know (so far):
- Compared to last year, the National Retail Federation reports more people went shopping in stores. 141M vs. 139M. They (we) spent 3.9% less.
The story online and in mobile:
- ComScore is reporting that Black Friday was the season’s first billion-dollar day in desktop online sales. $1.198B to be exact. Up 15% from 2012.
- According to IBM, 39.7% of all online traffic was mobile. Mobile was 21.8% of total online sales. This is a 34% increase over Black Friday 2012.
For the record, I’m cheering for digital and mobile to excel but that’s my misapplied competitiveness. How much overall money is coming out of our wallets, independent of device, is what really matters.
Cyber Monday results are our current cliff-hanger. (Btw Cyber Monday is a name so outdated we should have to access it via flip phones and dial-up connections.)
Given the deep discounts, all indications are that consumers are able to stock their stockings twice this year. We are in the midst of a full on fire sale. Large font. Exclamation points. Deals that defy time constraints.
There is a retailer panic that feels palpable. A race to the deepest discount. Prices are fluctuating in a way that makes the value they reflect seem shaky.
This holiday we’ve become a barter culture without the need to negotiate.
Three things I think about this:
1. Retail is crying wolf.
Deals are no longer held to Black Friday or Cyber Monday. You think the deal is expiring and then it lasts all week. Black Friday was not the first time this season that Levi’s had 40% off everything.
For consumers this is good. But it undermines trust. If Banana Republic has consistent 40% off sales why would I ever buy full price? Do people feel excited or duped if J.Crew’s 30% off continues unexpectedly through the weekend?
2. The peer pressure is worse than Jr. High.
Amazon competes on price in a way that has altered the game. Wal-Mart does too but the attention on them is now diluted. The retail industry currently caters to the assumption that lowest price is the end all-be all. It is fear-based, defensive and rough. And very real.
3. A hangover awaits.
Gap’s CEO Glenn Murphy, on a recent analyst call, said that customers are sick and tired of being bombarded by sales. “…have we – I’m just being honest – as an industry not been that innovative in order to give the consumers a value proposition that doesn’t look like wallpaper day in, day out?”
Gap’s discount on Black Friday? 50% off of everything.
I like though, the gauntlet he throws. It’s going to take nerve to find solutions other than price. But finding solutions must happen.
I recognize it’s easy to be critical. Constructive criticism comes with proposed solutions. Here are three from me: