The National Retail Federation estimates 164 million Americans will go shopping the weekend after Thanksgiving.
Many of them braving crowds like these in the hunt for bargains. For U.S. retailers, it’s a critical period, following a third quarter marked by natural disasters and bad weather which hurt the earnings of many companies.
CGTN’s Karina Huber reports.
“The Black Friday weekend can either make or break a retailer, and this is mainly because it marks the beginning of the holiday shopping season, which is the biggest quarter in terms of sales and earnings and for a retailer,” Jharonne Martis, Thomson Reuters director of Consumer Research said.
For many shoppers, the first location they’ll visit won’t be a brick and mortar outlet but online retailers like Amazon.
“Amazon was overwhelmingly chosen as the most preferred retail brand to either shop yourself or recommend to others,” Anna Pezzulli, Pollfish director of Business Development said.
Amazon, which uses algorithms to match competitors’ prices or undercut them slightly, is tough to beat.The strategy among some like Best Buy has been to offer discounts weeks before the Black Friday frenzy begins. Walmart is focusing on offering exclusives.
“So consumers will be gravitating towards Amazon but watch out – Walmart has also come up with really good values going into the holiday season and have been gaining traction. So, they are the one retailer that is competing closest with Amazon right now,” Martis said.
Numerous polls indicate U.S. consumers are primarily looking for deals on clothing and accessories. Among electronics, Pezzulli says Samsung is most in demand, beating out Apple at number four.
“You know Samsung has more in quantity of offerings as Apple does. Samsung is also historically better with Black Friday and Cyber Monday discounts than Apple has been,” said Pezzulli.
But there will be deals on Apple. Walmart, Target and Best Buy are all offering gift cards or cash savings for the purchase of an iPhone 8 and 8 Plus.
Overall, Martis estimates retailers will discount items by an average 37 percent over Black Friday weekend. “So if consumers are not getting at least a 40 percent discount or higher, they’re really not getting a good Black Friday deal,” said Martis.
But it still might be wise to be wary of eye-popping prices. A new report found that more than half of last year’s Black Friday deals were the same price or cheaper at other times of the year. The advice from experts: it pays to do your research before opening your wallet.