Wednesday, December 13, 2006

It's a procrastinators market

Hang in there retailers, the stalemate is starting to subside. According to Forbes Magazine:

Analysts say shoppers procrastinated this holiday shopping season partly due to an unseasonably warm November, which hurt apparel sales. But with cooling temperatures and an extra weekend of shopping before Christmas, things are expected to pick up.

I encountered a stat last Wednesday that stated 82% of consumers were holding out for a great deal. If they don't get a deal, they won't buy. That kind of talk has to make some retailers blood run cold. While at Target a couple of weeks ago, the holiday shopping lull was not very evident. The parking lot was jam packed and every register had a line four people deep. While driving through Country Club Plaza in KC last weekend I continually stopped for gangs of J-walking pedestrians toting multiple sacks. Not cheap sacks. Sharper Image, Mac, Gap, Pottery Barn sacks.

This seasons holiday sales make me wonder if the Wal-Mart-cheap doorbusters throughout the retail industry are doing more harm than good. Sure, people can get a great deal on a flat screen tv or ScanDisk MP3 player, but what happens when those deals are over? People wait for the next deal. Because, historically, they know there will be another great sale close to Christmas.

And, why not give a gift card so family and friends can save even more money while shopping for the 50-70% sales after Christmas?

2006 wasn't a year of great economic growth. Maybe capitol hill economists would disagree, but people are holding there money. With housing market woes, war in Iraq and continual impact of past disasters such as Hurricane Katrina, people aren't sure what's going to happen next. Who can blame them? To me, right now, waiting for the next deal makes sense. I haven't started my holiday shopping yet. Sometimes, especially now, it pays to procrastinate.

Link to Forbes article here.

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