Online discounts, buying with social media on mind, using retail stores to examine products before buying online later, all part of changing market forces
Published : Friday, November 29, 2019 | 5:41 AM
Black Friday is morphing in Pasadena as shoppers are expected to go online to do much of their gift buying this year. When they do trek into local stores, it doesn’t mean they’re actually going to buy anything. And what they buy may not be material goods.
Experts provided new insights into how Pasadena and the rest of the U.S. is experiencing a major overhaul in the way people make purchases over the Black Friday-Shop Small Saturday-Cyber Monday shopping time.
For one thing, men are more prone to go shopping between Black Friday and Cyber Monday than women. Some 88% of men say they plan to shop over Black Friday and Cyber Monday, versus 85% of women, according to experts.
(And it’s often travel deals for themselves that they’re buying during what was always considered the time to buy Holiday gifts for others.)
Another interesting note: The popular Shop Small and Local initiative that’s promoted by brick-and-mortar retailers across the U.S. may have some hurdles this year in Pasadena, some local business managers say.
Men and baby boomers are leading the spending spree which could top $1 trillion for the first time ever, year according to data on emarketer.com and finder.com, which track retail information. Slightly more men at 88 percent, compared with 85 percent of women, will brave the crowds, shopping between Black Friday through Cyber Monday.
As for Baby Boomers — those born in the 1960s and earlier — they’ll spend an average of $626.35 for 2019. Gen X’ers are estimated to spend $459.72 according to the site.
And, what do men want? Electronics and cars? The answer is a resounding no. Travel is the leading purchase by men during the Black Friday through Cyber Monday period. Among all groups, furniture comes first and travel is second among purchases.
That does not surprise Pasadena travel agent Maral Nazarian, a master travel planner with TravelStore Pasadena. She said getting together with family leads to planning travel together, and also looking together for deals on adventure travel, cruises and other experiences.
“With Thanksgiving and Black Friday what we’ve seen in the past is when family gathers, travel is a topic that comes up, because they’re enjoying family time together,” Nazarian said.
And the timing is right for people who have Black Friday-type discounts on their mind but also want to take a trip at some point in the new year. Unlike the typical Black Friday discount, travel deals that happen to come about at the end of the year, are redeemable in the future and in the new year.
Nazarian said Baby Boomers who tend to value experiences more than “things,” enjoy getting travel at a discount.
What’s driving the desire to see the world? There’s a one-upmanship in bragging about travel, and social media plays a big role.
“Travel is something that for Boomers and Millennials, they want bragging rights, and they enjoy talking about travel experiences rather than talking about the new car or the ring they got,” Nazarian said. “They love talking about their travel, they love posting on social media and the more adventurous and unique, the better.”
As for consumer goods, there is a big push for Shop Small Saturday, a nationally adopted marketing initiative where local retailers encourage local shoppers to spend in their own community. Pasadena is no different in its adoption of the program.
But shoppers need to be made aware of the bargains months ahead of time if local retailers want to bring them into their stores.
“Retailers need to be hammering out the message to shop locally,” said Pasadena businessman Ishmael Trone, a member of the Board of Directors for the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce. “There has to be a reason to go into the small Pasadena store. Over the course of the year the retailer should be collecting email addresses to let shoppers know that they will be offering holiday deals.”
There must be special incentives to shop locally in the brick-and-mortars because of all the other factors that come in to play today. Free next-day shipping, deep discounts, and unlimited time to view an item online are among the benefits to shopping via computer. And when shopping online, there is no need to worry about parking, traffic and fellow shoppers who may be rude or sales clerks in a bad mood.
“Black Friday is not as much shopping as it is about hanging out,” Trone said. “People are shopping online because they give larger discounts.
The biggest challenge to brick-and-mortar businesses is the shopper’s ability to sit in the comfort of their own home to order items and gifts online and having the items arrive at the front door.
Trone, who as an accountant has clients who are retailers, said he sees that the sales online are outnumbering in-store sales. He said some of his clients who want to go into retail open an online store instead of brick-and-mortar.
And while people may be standing in a store looking at the goods, many of those shoppers at the brick-and-mortar retailers have something else on their minds.
“Let’s not be fooled by the modern shopper,” Trone said. “They may be standing in the Apple store but they’re on their mobile device looking to find the best price. In many cases they’re in the store only to view the product, then they go online to find it elsewhere. So it’s a ‘Catch-22,’ and small retailers need to really advertise their discounts way ahead of time.”
“The smaller retailer has got to market and advertise and get it in front of the consumer they’re having really good in-store sales,” Trone said. “You have to be realistic about when holiday shopping starts. Is it really Black Friday? Is it really Cyber Monday? Shoppers are starting to catch those sales back in August, September and October. You have to realize that your online sales will be greater than in-store sales. You have to really market and advertise to the shoppers or you have to have a really strong online presence.”