Ok. Sit down, and I will tell you about Amazon moving their Prime Day from July to October 13 and 14. Joy for anyone with a Prime card who can shop for terrific values. There will be electronics, apparel, toys, and much more “just in time for Christmas gift giving”. Yes, it is a couple of months early, but you have got to get ready for the holidays now or risk missing out on some great gifts that are sold out. Last year, Prime Day generated more than $7 Billion in sales.
Among the sale items Amazon will offer are the Fire HD 43” TV, Mag-Genius magnetic tiles, night light with baby head, FIOS Gigabit connection, All new Echo, Prime Day fashion deals, and too many more specials to mention.
There’s more to this new promotional activity. Now, Target comes and tries to wiggle in with Target’s Deal Days. They are also scheduled for October 13 & 14 and will feature electronics, apparel, toys and much more…”because we are letting our guests know that they don’t need to wait or face the crowds to get the best deals, all with no membership required”. Target Deal Days should be a big hit for customers on-line and in stores.
Walmart has also announced a competitive plan called Big Save for those October dates, although Walmart will start early (7 pm on October 11). Thousands of items are promised to be featured, including electronics, apparel, toys, and much more. They will be at block-buster prices. In addition, on September 15, Walmart introduced Walmart+, a membership program that gives members unlimited free delivery, scan & go check-out privileges, and fuel discounts. That’s a good start to compete with Amazon’s Prime membership. Big Save days should be a boost for Walmart.
I think before the week is over, Kohl’s, Macy’s, JCPenney and others will have concluded that the preemptive promotional leadership of Amazon, Target and Walmart can be countered by offering their own special valued promotions in electronics, apparel, toys and much more. As rational competitors, they do not want customers to wander into competitors’ stores and buy the same merchandise that they have also planned for promotions.
Sure, prices will vary, but the values will be there.
Let’s face it. Shopping will be tougher this year. Stores are not opening on Thanksgiving Day, and customers are reluctant to shop in crowded stores on Black Friday during this pandemic period. Shopping early makes sense, especially since Target promises that Black Friday pricing (which this really is) on home goods, apparel and accessories, and more will run through November both in stores and on-line. In addition, the retailer promises weeklong discounts and digital deals every day beginning November 1. Target’s Redcard will give shoppers 5% off purchases if customers use the card either as a credit card or a debit card.
Because of the pandemic caused COVID-19, the traditional frenzied Christmas selling period will shift from the Thanksgiving to Christmas Eve selling period to an extended period that now starts with October 13 and 14. Most stores will be shuttered on Thanksgiving Day and will open Friday morning (Black Friday). I expect the period preceding Thanksgiving to have strong value offerings that will attract some customers. Many, of course, will shop on the internet, and some will venture into stores for the chance to physically check out products despite their aversion to be with other shoppers at this time.
So, what does this mean for sales throughout the final quarter? I am estimating a sales increase of +1.5% during the post-Thanksgiving period. That meager increase, which does not cover increased expenses, will be covered by better than planned sales in early October and November and give the industry a +3 to +3.5% increase for the extended holiday season.