Bulk of Holiday Shopping to Begin in Early November


With Thanksgiving coming late this year — Nov. 28 — retailers are working with a shorter traditional holiday shopping period, and how much impact it will have on sales is up for debate. In fact, one national report from CFI Group in Ann Arbor found nearly half of shoppers will start their seasonal shopping in early November — well before Black Friday.

The 2013 Holiday Shopping Report found that only 21 percent of Millennials will attempt to make a shopping trip during the weekend of Black Friday/Cyber Monday (Nov. 29-Dec. 1), and only 11 percent plan to spend more than half their holiday budget during that time. In comparison, 77 percent of baby boomers plan to shop that weekend, and nearly 25 percent plan to spend more that half their holiday budget. Nearly half of consumers 65 and older plan to spend more than half their budget that weekend.

“Consumers are beginning their holiday shopping earlier in the season, and as behavior is shifting beyond traditional Black Friday spending, those who focus solely on Black Friday-centric campaigns will miss significant sales opportunities,” says Sheri Petras, CEO of CFI Group.

Terry Redding, vice president of product development at CFI Group, says he doubts Black Friday will go away any time soon, however, he believes the day after Thanksgiving won’t represent the traditional kick-off to the holiday season like it has in years past.

 “It used to be that businesses would open up at 6 in the morning (on Friday), then 4 in the morning, and then it got to be 2 in the morning, just to get people into their store first,” Redding says. “Now a lot of freestanding retailers (such as Briarwood in Ann Arbor) have announced they’re going to open on Thanksgiving Day, something they seldom did before. It’s not so much about competing to get customers to their store first anymore.

“The industry itself is trying to extend the holiday shopping (beyond) that weekend. Instead of having a four-day holiday weekend, now they can have five days.”

No matter the length of the shopping period, Michigan retailers are forecasting a 1.3 percent gain for the entire holiday season when compared to last year, says the Michigan Retail Index, a joint project of the Michigan Retailers Association in Lansing and Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

“It’s interesting — the National Retail Federation had put out their projections (a 3.9 percent increase) before the (government) shutdown,” says Tom Scott, spokesman for the MRA, noting that the surveys for the Michigan Index took place amidst the shutdown. “I think (Michigan’s) forecast would have been higher if we had conducted the surveys earlier.”

When asked about how online shopping will impact the state’s retailers in the upcoming months (42 percent of consumers plan to spend more than 40 percent of their total holiday budgets online), Scott says that “the real problem is the Amazons of the world, which have no presence in Michigan and don’t have to collect sales tax. That does take away sales from Michigan-based companies.”

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