Retail Expert: Holiday Shoppers Will Spend More, Break Online Sales Records

Adobe Digital Insights predicts the 2017 holiday season to be the first to break $100 billion in online sales, a 13 percent increase from last year.

“To take advantage of projected trends, retailers need to ensure consumers’ online experiences are positive,” said Ann Fairhurst, professor and head of UT’s Department of Retail, Hospitality, and Tourism Management. “This includes mobile devices, since most shoppers will start shopping on their smartphones.”

Fairhurst said most of this year’s hottest toys are technology based:

  • Fingerlings interactive Baby Monkey is a small interactive monkey that hangs on to your fingers, moves its head, talks, blows kisses, and responds to sounds, motion, and touch.
  • New varieties of Hatchimals are available this year, with 70 to choose from including Hatchimals CollEGGtibles and Hatchimals Surprise Twin Eggs.
  • On a nostalgic note, Teddy Ruxpin is back—digitally updated with embedded LCD eyes that react and express emotion. He’s Bluetooth ready and has an app to download books for him to read.
  • As for video games, Super Mario’s Odyssey, a game that got its start in the ’80s, is expected to be a big seller.
  • Other hot toys include Barbie, Baby Alive, Lego, Hot Wheels, and Paw Patrol.

According to the National Retail Federation, 54 percent of consumers will spend the same as last year but 24 percent will spend more, especially 18- to 24-year-olds. In spite of the devastating natural disasters this year, which can impact consumer spending, the NRF forecasts an increase in holiday sales between 3.6 and 4 percent.

The most popular gift categories include clothing and accessories; gift cards (to restaurants and department stores); books, movies, DVDs, and music; food and candy; and electronics.

As for Thanksgiving weekend shopping, 69 percent of consumers are planning or considering shopping during the weekend. Black Friday is projected to be the biggest sales day, with only 20 percent of consumers shopping on Thanksgiving. Many consumers will shop on Small Business Saturday to support local businesses. Cyber Monday will be a retail hit.

In a survey by blackfriday.com, more than 50 percent of respondents did not think stores should be open on Thanksgiving Day.

In the Knoxville area, Academy Sports, Costco, Dillard’s, Hobby Lobby, Lowe’s, Office Depot, Sam’s Club, Stein Mart, and TJ Maxx will close Thanksgiving Day. REI will be closed on Thanksgiving Day as well as Black Friday.

Some stores will open later in the day to allow their employees some time with their families. JC Penney will open at 2 p.m., Belk’s at 4 p.m., Best Buy and Kohl’s at 5 p.m., and Target and WalMart at 6 p.m. Thanksgiving Day shoppers should expect better doorbusters in the store than on Black Friday.

Fairhurst also said the extra shopping weekend in December will help businesses.

Source: University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Jefferson Farmers Co-op 08112014