Tag: sales

Black Friday is not a charity, consumers warned

Source: Supermarket & Retailer

Black Friday, which falls on 29 November this year, may feel like an annual treat for thrifty shoppers, but it has little to do with altruism. For retailers it is all about maximising consumer spend.

Some Black Friday bargains will save you money, with some items selling at or below cost price, but profit-starved stores, especially those in South Africa under extreme pressure, do not plan to come in at a loss for the day.

Rather, online and brick and mortar stores use the annual shopping day to manipulate consumers, get feet through doors, win hearts and minds, and generate additional revenue.

In South Africa, shoppers spent close to R3 billion at stores on Black Friday 2018 – a leap in spending so high that it even helped ‘save’ the country’s economy after a torrid year. And with South African consumer spending habits often dictated by pay day deposits, it’s an expense that few local consumers can actually afford.

In order to get consumers parting with their cash, and then, ironically, thanking the stores while doing so, retailers employ several tricks and techniques – many of which are refined each year as the shopping day continues to gain traction in South Africa.

This is how stores will try to trick you into spending more money than you probably should on Black Friday 2019.

Stores will build up your bargain-seeking arrogance – to your detriment.

The psychological manipulation starts long before anyone bangs on the store doors early on Black Friday morning itself, and all the retailers taking part are conspiring against you.

Stores use several psychological tricks to manipulate shoppers, but one of the most important is boosting your certainty of finding a great deal on days like Black Friday, according to brand and consumer specialist Martin Lindstrom.

He argued on Bloomberg that most of what we do while shopping is irrational and subconscious, and calls the mall “the soul of seduction”. The more rational shoppers think they are, he says, the more likely they are to be manipulated.

In other words, you might think it’s entirely rational, and even pretty genius, to be tracking down that amazing deal on Black Friday – but if anything, this confidence just means you’re more likely to fall prey to their tricks.

Building up the hype prior to Black Friday reinforces the idea that great bargains are to be had. Also watch out for messages that tease limited availability and the need to pounce on deals while they are available, rather than sitting on the idea of buying that brand new washing machine until it is “too late”.

“Limited stock” is just that – especially if the numbers aren’t specified.

Mainstream stores will not risk being caught for fraud; if they advertise a once-in-a-lifetime discount of tens of thousands of rands, they really will sell at that price. But there is no requirement for them to have enough stock to make sure you too can get that item at that price.

Be especially worried when the level of stock is not specified, because “limited” can mean “one”.

Stores count on the fact that the adrenaline rush of Black Friday will make you grab a “deal” you haven’t properly researched when limited stock means you can’t get exactly what you want – especially after you’ve camped out on a cold floor all night or obsessively clicked “refresh” on a web page.

Retailers lure you in with great deals, and then subtly tempt you to buy stuff that is not on sale

The concept of loss leaders – items that aren’t necessarily profitable, but sold to attract customers to other items – is nothing new, and not exclusive to Black Friday, either.

Between online research and social media, retailers have to offer genuinely good deals to get feet through their doors rather than those of competitors. If they draw enough traffic they may be able to offset the losses with higher volumes on regularly-priced goods, and they tend to do everything in their power to convince you to buy those.

In some cases it seems as if stores also subtly mark up items they think shoppers may not know the value of, and let the halo-effect of Black Friday give the impression that these too are really good deals.

Loss-leading is not a failsafe way for stores to generate profits, but they do work – to the extent that they’re banned in many US states and European countries.

The products on sale may be old….

Check the model numbers of the hot ticket items that are deeply discounted, and you may find that the products are anything but new.

Events like Black Friday are a great way to move old items that haven’t sold through the year, and probably won’t move during Christmas shopping either – and which will only drop in value as they are outpaced by newer models with new features or technologies.

These can still be great deals if you know what you are in for, and if you are happy with last year’s model, or one with limited features. Just don’t be caught with a “new” TV that isn’t quite what you expected.

… or inferior

Because American consumers can now be counted on to flood into stores for Black Friday, some manufacturers create products especially to capitalise on that spending.

In at least some cases, these special product lines are cheaper to make, and inferior, to mainstream product lines that carry the same name. Because of this, Forbes suggests that the very bastion of a Black Friday deal – the not-so-humble flat screen television – is better bought at other times of the year to avoid buying “toned down, derivative models”.

If you can’t find the model number for a common item from a big name with a simple Google search, beware.

You are not being paranoid: some stores will quietly increase prices before Black Friday to claim bigger discount levels.

As with some online stores in South Africa, those dramatic double-digit percentage discounts on offer come 29 November will not necessarily be as attractive as simple math would suggest.

That’s because in order to hit the advertised discounts, some retailers quietly increase the retail price of sale items a few weeks before the event.

That way they can genuinely claim a discount compared to what they were charging before, even though that is not necessarily the price that was generally charged.

Chances are you’ll get the same thing at the same discount later – and you may do even better.

It’s easy to fall into the temptation trap of Black Friday and think it’s the only sale of the year. But, in the US market at least, CNN claims that there are the same – if not better – deals to be had at other times of the year.

And the South African seasonal retail cycle is looking more and more like that of America, as Black Friday and Cyber Monday take hold here.

Sales on things like clothes and outdoor equipment are often dictated by the changing weather, so if you’re after summer fashion items, you may be better off waiting a few months after Black Friday.

Likewise, South African electronics stores increasingly release items like smart phones and televisions soon after they launch elsewhere. Those launch dates are often linked to big international events, such as the Consumer Electronics Show in the US.

So if you lust after a big-ticket item such as a new iPhone or a large TV, you might be better syncing your sales clock with, say, Apple’s international releases, and waiting for the fire-sale price drops that come when that now top-of-the-line phone suddenly becomes a previous model.

‘Cheap’ housing in high demand

Source: Business Insider SA

Properties priced between R250 000 and R500 000 are experiencing a strong third quarter, a new report by FNB showed.
Due to increased demand, 5% of properties in that bracket is sold above asking price.

FNB said there is a lack of supply in that bracket which leads to strong house price growth.

The FNB Affordable Housing Insight for the third quarter of 2019, released on Tuesday, showed a third of properties in the R250 000 to R500 000 price range sold below initial asking price.

The average discount offered for the market, also known as the gap market, was 12.7%.

In contrast, over 95% of properties in the higher end of the market sell below-asking price, at approximately 10% discount, the report said.

On average, properties in the R250,000 to R500,000 bracket remained on the market roughly 6 weeks, with 13 average viewings.

In the higher-end market, properties spend 16 weeks on the market with 9.6 average viewers.

The report showed that in South Africa 35% of transactions are typically for buy-to-let, compared to 50% of transactions in the R250,000 to R500,000 bracket.

FNB Home Finance CEO Lee Mhlongo said there is an inadequate supply of lower-end residential properties which contributes to strong house price growth.

“Prospective home buyers are looking and finding value in affordable housing. We believe that a better pipeline of supply, especially within the gap market, will go a long way to improving home ownership in our country,” Mhlongo said.

Mhlongo said emigration and relocation-related sales remain low in affordable housing bracket but is more prominent in higher price segments.

The FNB Affordable Housing Insight was compiled through surveys with the country’s top real estate agencies in Gauteng, Western Cape, Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.

Black Friday sales expected to soar in SA

Source: African News Network

South African business have begun preparing for what looks to be another bumper Black Friday trading day, with sales predicted to be up 30% from last year, online largest payment service provider PayGate said.

South Africa has like several other countries adopted “Black Friday”, the informal name for the day after Thanksgiving in the United States which marks the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. This year, it will fall on November 29.

Data from retail tracker Black Friday Global shows interest in Black Friday deals in South Africa has grown by 9,900 percent over the past five years, PayGate said in a statement on Tuesday.

“PayGate’s tracking of payments for Black Friday, meanwhile, shows the number of transactions doubling every year for the past three years, and payment clearing house BankservAfrica says it saw a 55 percent growth in transactions in 2018 compared to the previous year,” it said.

“PayGate expects 2019 Black Friday transactions to grow by 30 percent this year.”

It however said South Africa’s e-commerce growth was generally coming off a very low base, having really taken off only in the past three years or so.

The company said it had processes some 64 percent of Black Friday transactions last year, and expected this to rise to as much as 70 percent in 2019.

South African business have begun preparing for what looks to be another bumper Black Friday trading day, with sales predicted to be up 30 percent from last year, online largest payment service provider PayGate said on Tuesday.

How to recognise the lies customers tell

Source: Sales Guru

A white lie here, a fib there …

Just how honest is your prospect being with you?

We uncovered the top 5 lies favoured by your prospect. They’re naughty, but here’s how to play the lying game the professional way.

Lie 5: We don’t have the budget
Almost never true, lie 5 really means “we have the budget, but it’s been assigned to other projects with higher priority”.

Your move: Ask questions to find out where the money is currently being spent. Once you’ve discovered what’s funded and why to reposition your offering and the value it provides so that it becomes a higher priority than budget items that are currently funded.

Lie 4: I make all the buying decisions
NEVER does ONE executive make all the buying decisions. There is always consultation with others or a decision-making process that needs to be followed.

Your move: Ask about the specific reporting structure and gently probe to find out the “stakeholders” who “influence” the decision. Read between the lines and you’ll probably be able to figure out which people actually have to be sold in order for a deal to go through.

Lie 3: Your competition is cheaper OR we always get a discount
This may be true, or it may not be true. Either way, don’t fall for this popular tactic – it’s simply meant to entice you to drop your prices.

Your move: Position your offering, and the privilege of working with you and your company, as being of much higher value than working with your competitor. If they’re demanding a discount, they’re testing to see whether they ‘got the best deal’. If you do indeed drop the price, you’ll lose credibility and end up cutting a non-profitable deal. Both loses, and no wins (for you).

Lie 2: I’m sorry I missed our meeting
If they miss a meeting more than once, then there’s no way that they’re telling the truth. Fact is, they may want to blow you off and they don’t have the courage to say so.

Your move: Once you’ve calmed down, reassess the viability of meeting with the client again and try to schedule another rendezvous if you think it’s worth it (it’s almost always worth it).

Lie 1: She’s not in the office right now
If you’re cold calling, this is almost undoubtedly a lie – fed to you by the PA or receptionist or similar gatekeeper.
But the gatekeeper is just doing their job: keeping you away from the decision-maker.

Your move: Pretend that it’s true, always, and remain calm. Ask when would be a good time to call. You may need to sell the gatekeeper on the idea that your call is important enough to put through.

By Deborah Williams for Retail Insight 

June 2019 UK retail sales have been the worst on record, with a 1.3% total basis decline, according to a report by the British Retail Consortium (BRC). June UK retail sales saw a 2.3% increase in 2018.

Covering the five weeks from 26 May to 29 June 2019, the report found that the decline brings the three month average into a decline of 0.1% and the 12 month average to an increase of 0.6%, the lowest since its records began in December 1995.

BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson OBE said: “June sales could not compete with last year’s scorching weather and World Cup, leading to the worst June on record. Sales of TVs, garden furniture and BBQs were all down, with fewer impulse purchases being made. Overall, the picture is bleak. Rising real wages have failed to translate into higher spending as ongoing Brexit uncertainty led consumers to put off non-essential purchases.

“Businesses and the public desperately need clarity on Britain’s future relationship with the EU. The continued risk of a No Deal Brexit is harming consumer confidence and forcing retailers to spend hundreds of millions of pounds putting in place mitigations – this represents time and resources that would be better spent improving customer experience and prices. It is vital that the next Prime Minister can find a solution that avoids a No Deal Brexit on 31st October, just before the busy Black Friday and Christmas periods.”

On a like-for-like basis, June UK retail sales decreased by 1.6% from June 2018. This is lower than the three month and 12 month averages of -0.4% and -0.1% respectively. The report stated that this represents the worst 12 month average since April 2012.

In-store sales of non-food items declined 4.3% on a total basis and 4.1% on a like-for-like basis, over the three months to June. This decline is lower than the 12 month total average decline of 2.8%.

Non-food UK retail sales declined by 2.1% on a total basis and 2% on a like-for-like basis, over the three-months to June. This is also lower than the 12 month total average decrease of 0.8%. The BRC said that this is the worst quarterly decline since February 2009.

KPMG UK head of retail Paul Martin says: “There are few places retailers can hide from the difficult trading conditions that have been hitting the industry for some time. June’s retail performance did little to ease that, with like-for-like sales falling 1.6% compared to last year.

“On the high street, consumers were eager to pull up a pew for the summer’s sporting events, with added interest in the furniture category. Otherwise, consumers largely turned a blind eye to offers in the physical retail space.”

Non-food online sales increased 4% in June 2019, against an increase of 8.5% in June 2018. The three month and 12 month average growths were 3.3% and 5% respectively. Non-food online penetration rate increased to 30.7% last month, from 28.5% in June 2018.

Martin adds: “With 4% online growth, shoppers were thankfully more engaged in this channel, making the most of the added convenience and continued aggressive pricing. Fashion performed particularly well thanks to end-of-season sales and upcoming holidays.

“Pressure on retailers continues to mount and is seemingly coming from all angles: economic, geo-political, environmental and behavioural. Consumer spend is only likely to fall further as things stand, and cost efficiency remains vital. The focus for most in the industry will be preservation and adaptation in order to see them through these tough times.”

Food sales experiences ‘above total average growth’ for June 2019 UK retail sales
Over the three months to June, food sales increased 2.4% on a total basis and 1.5% on a like-for-like basis – an increase above the 12 month total average growth of 2.2%.

IGD CEO Susan Barratt said: “A late start to the summer weather in June compared unfavourably with consistently drier and warmer conditions in 2018, so while year-on-year growth in food and grocery sales last month was small, it is still encouraging.

“If the recent pick up in temperatures is sustained, there’s hope for stronger figures in July. Shoppers feel slightly more positive at the moment, with the percentage expecting to become worse off financially in the year ahead falling from 32% in February to 27% today.”

Weak pen, lighter sales knock Bic

By Myles McCormick for Financial Times

Flagging sales of pens in India and lighters in North America knocked revenues at French stationery maker Bic at the beginning of 2019.

The company, known for its ubiquitous biros and razors, said sales had fallen 2 per cent on a comparative basis to €415m in the first quarter of the year as its overall trading environment remained “challenging”.

Pre tax income dropped 18 per cent to €55m as South American exchange rates and rising raw material costs weighed on its margins.

Shares in Bic fell as much as 10 per cent in early Thursday trading, making it one of the worst performers on the Stoxx 600 index — second only to Finnish electronics group Nokia, whose shares plunged after an unexpected first-quarter loss.

“After a strong 2018 fourth quarter, and while the overall trading environment remains challenging, 2019 started with soft results impacted by stationery in India and lighters in the US,” said Gonzalve Bich, Bic chief executive.

“However, we maintained or grew market share in our three categories, and regained momentum in shavers,” he added.

In India, Cello Pens, which Bic bought in 2015, saw a double digit drop off in sales as it sought to reduce shipments to so-called “superstockists”. Global stationery sales fell 6 per cent on a comparative basis, stripping out the impact of acquisitions and divestments.

Lighter sales fell 10 per cent in North America on the back of inventory adjustments by wholesalers and a declining market. Globally, lighter sales were down 6 per cent on a comparative basis.

Its shaver business did better, with strong eastern European and Russian performance driving a 10 per cent rise on a comparative basis.

The company expects first quarter “headwinds” to lessen over the year and retained its full year financial outlook of a slight growth in sales.

Black Friday weekend in numbers

According to an article by Business Tech, online sales for Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2018 exceeded figures for 2017.

BankservAfrica provided Business Tech with the following figures on one of the biggest shopping days of the year:

  • A total of 581 189 online transactions were processed over the weekend
  • 404 594 online transactions were recorded on Black Friday
  • The single most expensive transaction for Black Friday was over R6-million
  • The single most expensive transaction for Cyber Monday was R5-million
  • Black Friday shopping peaked between 08h00 and 09h00
  • Cyber Monday shopping peaked between 10h00 and 11h00
  • The average number of transactions per minute peaked at 695 on Black Friday
  • Transactions averaged at 281 per minute on Black Friday
  • The average number of transactions per minute peaked at 277 on Cyber Monday
  • Transactions averaged at 1251 per minute on Cyber Monday
  • Black Friday saw 55% year-on-year growth in online transactions
  • Cyber Monday transactions were up 36% year-on-year 

The United States, where the trend originated, also saw some big numbers:

  • Cyber Monday sales surged to a record $7.9-billion spent online
  • This is a year-on-year increase of 19.3%
  • Black Friday pulled in a record $6.22-billion in e-commerce sales
  • Transactions on mobile devices were up 55.6% on Cyber Monday, generating $2.2-billion in sales
  • Cyber Monday marked the biggest shopping day in Amazon’s history
  • Amazon Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined saw the purchase 18-million toys and more than 13-million fashion items

SA retailers reveal deals for Black Friday 2018

By Lauren Hartzenberg for BizCommunity

Retailers and shoppers are gearing up for the biggest sale day on the retail calendar, Black Friday, taking place on 23 November this year. The event marks the beginning of the festive shopping season. It also allows consumers to save on Christmas shopping and retailers to boost sales and move stock before the festive season really kicks in.

Black Friday has picked up steam in South Africa since its entry into the local market in 2015, with a growing number of retailers and brands participating in the event each year. 2017 was the strongest Black Friday to date for consumer electronics sales in South Africa, and Superbalist celebrated its biggest trading day with over 118% year-on-year growth.

This year, many local retailers opted to extend the sale weekend into a week- or month-long affair, possibly to secure spend from those consumers whose payday only falls in the week after Black Friday.

Below are some of the retailers that have confirmed participation in Black Friday 2018:

@home
@home will offer discounts across categories on Black Friday. Deals include R3000 off a Smeg Mixer, R7000 off couches, up to R1,000 off pot sets, and further deals on kitchen, dining, décor, bedding and furniture ranges.

American Swiss and Sterns
TFG-owned jewellery stores American Swiss and Sterns will be offering in-store specials of up to 50% off selected jewellery and watches.

Clicks
Clicks is holding an online only Pre-Black Friday Extravaganza from 16 November to 22 November, that continues over the Black Friday weekend, in stores and online, and concludes with Cyber Week from 25 November to 2 December (online only). The deals are exclusive to ClubCard members.
The retailer has promised the following specials: Up to 70% off technology and accessories, up to 50% off beauty products, up to 50% off electrical products, up to 50% off household products, up to 40% off health products, up to 30% off baby products.

Dion Wired
Starting on 22 November at midnight, right through to 23 November, Dion Wired shoppers can save up to 53% on a variety of brands both in-store and online.

Faithful to Nature
Faithful to Nature is running its Black5Day Sale on its site from 19 to 23 November. Each day reveals new specials with savings of between 40% to 50% on wellness and eco-friendly brands like Wazoogles, Back2Nature, Bee Natural and Triple Orange.
The retailer will also donate a portion of their turnover from the Black5Day Sale to Endangered Wildlife Trust to support them in their animal protection movements, from poaching to climate change, habitat destruction and pollution.

FirstShop
FirstShop will run Black Friday deals from 21-27 November, with discounts across categories including laptops, desktops, monitors, hard drives, PC components, headphones, speakers, and PC peripherals.

Foschini
Shoppers can get access to Foschini’s best Black Friday deals by signing up to TFG Rewards to qualify for an exclusive preview taking place in stores nationwide on Thursday 22 November at 4pm. For extra offers and more info around the sale, customers are urged to sign up to Foschini’s newsletter.

Game
Game launched deals as early as 7 November to build up momentum for the main shopping event on Black Friday. The retailer promises discounts across all categories at all its 145 stores in South Africa and Africa on the day, and some stores will be opening several hours earlier than normal – some as early as midnight on 22 November – to accommodate the rush.
Additionally, on Cyber Monday shoppers will be able to pick up “phenomenal deals” on a variety of tech products including laptops, tablets, smartphones and digital accessories.

Makro
Makro is running a 5-day Black Friday promotion from 21-25 November 2018, with price cuts on over 26,000 products. Mobile POS systems will be rolled out during the sale, letting customers purchasing a small number of items pay while standing in a queue. In-store trading hours have also been extended for the period.
Interestingly, the retailer has partnered with Uber to offer a R50 discount on rides to and from Makro outlets in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban and Port Elizabeth. The voucher code MAKRO5DAY can be used twice per rider.

Markham
Markham is giving shoppers up to 50% off its fashion sale goods. The ‘Make your Mark’ Black Friday offer is also available in its Relay Jeans stores and on both online sites.
myTFGworld.com
Black Friday deals from TFG’s new marketplace include box sets of family favourites from Reader’s Warehouse at 20% off, fresh flowers and bouquets from Bloomable at 20% off, and a free retro phone with any Pylones purchase.

Pick n Pay
Pick n Pay got a head start on Black Friday, announcing online deals as early as 5 November. Online customers can expect discounts of up to 50% across various categories on the Pick n Pay’s online shop, including liquor, food, toiletries and household products. Deals have also been launched for select appliances. Deals will run weekly from 5 to 25 November.

Pricecheck
On Black Friday, price comparison site PriceCheck will have a list of curated Black Friday deals, encompassing all site-wide deals either above 30% or equal to R2,000 or more in saving. PriceCheck’s Black Friday deals will run from 19 November to 26 November, with category specials running daily in the build-up to Black Friday.

RunwaySale
Online fashion retailer RunwaySale will be running a week-long promotion, starting at 5am on 19 November and ending at midnight on 25 November.
Daily escalating discounts will be available on thousands of designer fashion and accessory brands, culminating in up to 80% off. There will also be exclusive offers for VIP shoppers, early launch sales and other daily pop-up specials.

Shoprite
Shoprite is promising “lower prices than ever” with up to 50% off on selected products on Black Friday. All deals are valid on 23 November 2018 while stocks last.

Sportscene
Sportscene Shoppers can score up to 75% off selected sneakers and shop a curated selection of streetwear apparel and accessories at up to 50% off.

Superbalist
Superbalist is running various Black Friday specials for five days, from 23 to 27 November, with new deals unlocked each day. These deals will be revealed via email, on the mobile app and via a Facebook event. Superbalist has also super-sized their 2018 Black Friday sale to run for five days.

Takealot
Takealot’s famous Blue Dot Sale will run for five days with discounts of up to 60% on Black Friday, throughout the weekend as well as on Cyber Monday and Takealot Tuesday. Download the Takealot.com app for access to pre-Black Friday sales, app-only deals and sneak previews.

Teljoy
South African online retailer for electronics, furniture and household goods, if offering Black Friday discounts for a whole week, from 19 November to Cyber Monday on 26 November. Brands on sales include Hisense, Panasonic, Huawei, HP, Mecer and Defy.

The Fix
Fashion retailer The Fix will have buy-one-get-one-free offers both in-store and online this Black Friday. TFG Rewards customers get exclusive access to Black Friday offers at The Fix all day on Thursday, 22 November.

The Gadget Shop
The Gadget Shop will run a Black Friday sale from 23-25 November, with 20% off all products except for DJI drones, and up to 50% off selected products. There will also be buy-one-get-one-free specials on selected products. The Gadget Shop will also run Cyber Monday online-only deals.

Toys R Us
Toy retailer Toys R Us says it will be running Black Friday deals on its top brands with up to 70% off.

Zando
Zando is offering up to 90% across categories on its site, including on major brands like Adidas and Puma. Beginning at 00:01 on Friday, 23 November the Zando Black Friday sale will run over the entire weekend including Cyber Monday.

A guide to buying on Black Friday

Source: News24

Research shows that the Black Friday phenomenon has grown faster in South Africa than any other country in the world.

Black Friday, a retail promotion that takes place on the last Friday of November after the American Thanksgiving holiday, originated in America in the 1950s.

Last year, PriceCheck saw three times the number of daily visits to its online shopping comparison website on Black Friday, and twice the number on Cyber Monday, compared to its 2017 average.

In addition, these visits were on average 30% longer than the 2017 average duration. This year is likely to surpass that, with PayPal predicting that South Africans’ online shopping spend will top R53bn by the end of 2018, up from R37.1bn in 2017. But as the South African online shopping market grows, providing more to choose from, shoppers should put a game plan in place to ensure they get the best deals from the most reliable, and secure retailers.

Lebogang Mokubela, founder of township-based retail marketing company Lemok Group, says: “Black Friday marketing has been exceptional with millions of rand being invested to draw crowds to their offerings.”

Taking a look at shopping centres across the country with a combined GLA of approximately 23.4 million square metres, an average of 3.2% of tenants participated in Black Friday in 2016 and an average of 21% of tenants participated in Black Friday in 2017 – an increase of 17.8% year on year, Mokubela says. Small regional shopping centres indicated a growth average of 31% year-on-year.

Tips for getting the best deals on Black Friday

  • Have a plan. Know what you want, need and can afford before you get enticed by all the shiny offers in front of you
  • Choose a secure way to pay: credit card payments that ask you for a supplementary one-time pin – such as Verified by Visa, Snapscan and PayPal – are all good options
  • Take note of the delivery and return details. Will you get the purchase when you need it, and if you need to return it, will you end up paying more on delivery costs?
  • Look out for hidden costs or additional purchases you might need to make
  • Compare deals: similar deals might be packaged slightly differently, so make sure you are comparing apples with apples
  • Only buy from reputable retailers so you can be sure you will receive authentic products

By Daniela Forte for MultiChannel Merchant 

Back-to-school spending in the United States is projected to reach $27.6-billion this year or $510 per household, up slightly from $501 in 2017, according to data from Deloitte’s annual back-to-school survey.

The use of desktops and laptops is expected to lose share, with 49% of respondents this year saying they planned to do so, down from 53% in 2017, while mobile is projected to increase from 49% to 53%. In-store shopping is expected to be the preferred channel during back to school, representing $15.7 in total sales. The average spend for in-store purchases is projected at $292.

Clothing and accessories are expected to dominate at $15.1 billion in sales, followed by school supplies ($6 billion), computers and hardware ($3.7 billion) and electronic gadgets ($2.8 billion).

While demand and average spend is high for clothing and accessories at $286, the highest average planned spend for computers and hardware is slightly higher, at $299.

The survey revealed that children will likely influence over $21 billion in back-to-school spending, with 80% having a moderate-to-high influence in clothing and accessory purchases.

Online back-to-school shopping will be $6.3 billion, according to Deloitte, at an average spend of $115. Those undecided about which channel to shop in are expected to spend $5.5 billion, with an average spend of $104.

“The amount people plan to spend and tendency to shop in physical stores for back-to-school are consistent with last year, but retailers need to act fast for that $5.5 billion wild card,” says Rod Sides, VC for Deloitte LLP, and U.S. Retail, Wholesale and Distribution Leader, in a press release. “In just one year, previously undecided dollars have shifted dramatically by product category.”

Sides said, for example in 2017, 30% of people said they hadn’t decided if they would purchase computers online or in-store and that number shrunk 20% this year, most of it going online. In electronics, undecided spending dropped 10 percentage points, moving primarily into the stores.

Mass merchants are once again the most popular type of back-to-school retailer, cited by 83% of survey respondents, while price-based retailers (38%) and pure-play e-commerce sellers (36%) aren’t nearly as popular.

Shopping activity is expected to peak by early August, with about 90% of shoppers active from late July to early August, accounting for 66% of all sales. By period, shoppers are expected to spend $9.9 billion in the first two weeks of August and $8.1 billion in late July.

Parents who begin their shopping in July are likely to spend 20% more than late starters, Deloitte found. Early shoppers are more deal-seeking (40% vs. 27%) and mobile-savvy (55% vs. 50%) compared to late shoppers. They’re also bigger spenders, at an average outlay of $544, compared to $455 for later shoppers.

This year customers expect online and physical shopping experiences to be complementary. Fifty-six percent said they plan to research online before making in-store purchases, while 52% said they would purchase from online retailers who offer free shipping.

Less than 25% of respondents said they were likely to use social media during back-to-school season. Of those so inclined, finding promotions (cited by 63%) or coupons (59%) and browsing products (44%) were listed as their primary objectives.

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