As the world is slowly but surely opening back up to normalcy, retailers are expected to get a huge amount of shoppers even though the fallout from the pandemic continues to affect businesses and customers alike.
Even though the pandemic has led to a negative impact on so many people’s financial wellbeing, the fact that many are still willing to spend their cash on any item they find amusing is still a fact but there is a limited selection across the board as suppliers and retailers are reportedly caught flat-footed.
A number of important factors have played a key role in this year’s shopping experience which includes the shortage of shipping containers as well as truckers.
All these factors led to delayed deliveries while inflation continues to creep in. Labor shortage, not finding the actual item you want for the right price all have led to a bad customer experience.
A shopper Aniva Pawlowski who got to the shopping mall early had plans to get shoes and coats and since shopping on Thanksgiving Day is a family tradition, the fact that she had to stay back home last year and shopped online instead due to the COVID got her the intention to get out and do it in person this time around.
But that isn’t the only reason she and many other shoppers did so in person. One key reason is the fear of shortages. She planned to spend US$1,000 just like the previous year but also feared the increase in gas prices and food.
“Everything is expensive,” she said.
In fact, on average, shoppers are expected to pay between 5% and 17% more for toys, clothing, appliances, and other purchases on Black Friday this year unlike the previous year according to Aurelien Duthoit, who is the senior sector advisor at Allianz Research.
That’s because whatever discounts available will be applied to goods that already cost more.
“I think it is going to be a messy holiday season,” said Neil Saunders, managing director at GlobalData Retail. ”It will be a bit frustrating for retailers, consumers, and the workers. We are going to see long lines. We are going to see messier stores. We are going to see delays as you collect online orders.”
Due to the current state of the supply chain, retailers have reportedly been preparing for the holiday season as well as finding a way around to hold up the supply chain.
Some of the biggest U.S. retailers are rerouting goods to less congested ports, even chartering their own vessels.
“We are deep and we are ready,” Macy’s CEO Jeff Gennette told The Associated Press, noting inventory levels are up 20 percent compared to last year. “We are in good shape.”
Over the last decade, Black Friday which has been a traditional time for a huge shopping spree by Americans has slowly lost its prowess as numerous shoppers took to e-retail stores like Amazon and Best Buy.
While Black Friday has a stronghold on Americans’ imaginations as a day of crazed shopping, it has lost stature over the last decade as stores opened on Thanksgiving and shopping shifted to Amazon and other online retailers. Stores diluted the day’s importance further by advertising Black Friday sales on more and more days.
In fact, the current state of the pandemic has led many retailers to close stores on Thanksgiving Day and take things online by promoting their discounts via their websites as early as October.
Compared to the previous year, the crowd at Macy’s was much higher in the early hours of 6 a.m. shopping unlike the previous year and the retailer also maintained good sales online according to the company’s CEO.
Carol Claridge of Bourne, England, has been coming to New York for Thanksgiving-week shopping for 15 years but skipped it last year because of the pandemic.
The U.S. reopened to travelers from the U.K. earlier in November when it lifted pandemic travel bans.
“We had to wait a long time to do this,” said Claridge, who was looking at beauty gift sets on the first floor of Macy’s with a friend. “We are picking up anything we see that we like. We call it our annual shopping outing.”
Retail sales in the US apart from autos and gas are said to expect about a 10% increase in their sales within this past Monday through Sunday compared to the same period back in 2020.
This report was made known by Mastercard SpendingPulse which measures overall retail sales across all payment types.
Sales on Black Friday are expected to surge 20 percent from a year ago as store traffic comes back.
People have taken to the internet to make the majority of their purchases and online shopping is expected to rise to 7% for the week after the massive 46% gain a year prior due to shoppers being stuck at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
For the overall holiday season, online sales should increase 10 percent from a year ago, compared with a 33 percent increase last year, according to Adobe Digital Economy Index.
The country’s largest retail trade group, National Retail Federation (NRF) predicts that sales will increase between 8.5% and shopping 10.5%.
Holiday sales on the other hand increased about 8% in 2020 when shoppers locked down during the early part of the pandemic and spent their money on home goods instead.