Cashing In On Holiday Spending in 2019

The 2019 holiday shopping season has officially begun! Learn how your business can benefit from what business insiders are predicting for Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales trends.

Ring in the Profits

Summer is long gone, the kids are back in school, and “someone” has eaten all the Halloween candy. It’s November, and holiday decorations and pumpkin spice lattes are everywhere, which can mean only one thing: ‘Tis the season for holiday shopping!

In the United States, the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season begins on the day after Thanksgiving—Black Friday, which has traditionally been the busiest shopping day of the year for brick-and-mortar retail stores. But Cyber Monday has now outpaced Black Friday as online shopping soars in popularity. By 2020, online sales are expected to reach a total of $523 billion! According to the 2019 Deloitte holiday retail survey, 69% of consumers surveyed said they plan to shop on Cyber Monday this year, compared with 58% who favor Black Friday instead. And for the third consecutive year, consumers surveyed said they plan to spend as much as 59% of their holiday spending online as opposed to 36% making up in-store purchases.

Interesting Factoids

  • The first known usage of the term “Black Friday” marked the collapse of the U.S. gold market in 1869, leading to a stock market crash. By the 1990s, however, Black Friday took on a decidedly positive spin in retail, referring to a business becoming profitable, or “going into the black.”
  • Black Friday formally became the busiest shopping day of the year in 2001.
  • Cyber Monday is the catchy marketing phrase invented in 2005 by the National Retail Federation, meant to encourage consumers to shop online on the Monday following Black Friday.
  • The most popular holiday purchases include mobile phones, computers and electronics, clothing, home appliances, jewelry, toys and games, and travel-related items.
  • Generational differences in shopping habits: 53% of Black Friday shoppers are Millennials, Gen Xers account for 49.5%, and Baby Boomers make up 27%.
  • High-income consumers who earn between $150K – $300K spend an average of $1,565 on Black Friday purchases, while consumers who make from $25K – $50K spend an average of only $414.

How to Boost Profits This Holiday Season

According to a survey by PriceWaterhouseCoopers, 86% of consumers surveyed said they plan to spend the same or more than they did in 2018, averaging about $1,284 on gifts, travel, and entertainment—a 2.7% increase over last year. Although Black Friday and Cyber Monday will dominate sales, the holiday shopping season actually begins several weeks earlier. And with six fewer shopping days this year, every sale counts. But it’s not too late to get started—here are some things to consider as you put the final touches on your Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales strategies.

Customer Preference: Free Shipping

What do online shoppers want most? Free shipping! In fact, 85% of shoppers say they want free shipping, even if it means they have to wait up to 7 days.

What You Should Do

If you sell online, it’s essential to provide your customers with low-cost delivery options. Even if you can’t offer free shipping across the board, consider providing it to customers who spend above a certain amount, or run a “free shipping” day. Another option to consider is offering order online, pick up in-store options if you have a brick-and-mortar location, as it’s another way that customers can save on shipping costs.

Customer Preference: Mobile Shopping

Mobile purchases are on the rise, with 70% of smartphone users saying they plan to make at least one holiday purchase using their phone.

What You Should Do

The most obvious tactic, of course, is to set up an online site and to make sure that it’s mobile responsive—that is, it’s been designed with an optimized layout for smaller screens. If you have no immediate plans to set up a mobile-friendly site, though, you can still get on your customers’ screens by upping your social media game this holiday season. Share fun promotions and holiday products on your social media platforms, which your customers can buy in-store or call in to order.

Customer Preference: Discounts

Special promotions are most important to 81% of holiday shoppers, with 74% expressing an interest in discounts.

What You Should Do

Customers love to feel like they’re saving, even if they end up snapping up many deals and spending more than they had expected to. Tap into this desire for frugality by running special discounts or promos (i.e., Buy One Get One Free). While it may seem like you’re losing money, you’ll likely come out ahead.

Customer Preference: Gift Cards

Customers love their gift cards: For over 12 years, gift cards have been the most popular item on wish lists!

What You Should Do

Make sure your business offers gift cards for the holiday season. Fortunately, there are many POS systems on the market that make it easy to offer a gift and loyalty program. By doing so, you’ll be sure to grow foot traffic and sales!

Customer Preference: Easy Returns

A recent survey revealed that 55% of customers say that a retailer’s return policy influences their buying behavior. By having a return policy that’s too rigid, you may lose out on potential customers.

What You Should Do

If possible, consider making your return policy a bit more flexible. And, no matter what, your return policy should be clearly shared with your customers—they’ll appreciate the disclosure, and it will also help to reduce chargebacks.

To January and Beyond

The shopping days from Black Friday through the weekend into Cyber Monday can be the most profitable days of the year for your business. Take advantage of all the in-store and online traffic generated from pre-holiday sales to build up your contact list and offer your customers something special, like gift cards that can be used throughout the month of January, for example.

Need help finding the right POS system, e-commerce solution, or gift card program to succeed this holiday season? Reach out to us today to learn more, and get ready to turn your one-time seasonal buyers into year-round customers!