The Six Missing Days of Christmas
NEW YORK ( MainStreet) Holiday shoppers are spending more on children this Christmas season, yet most are unaware that they have six days less than last year to get it all done.
"The giant turkey in the room for physical retail is that shopping visits will be down," said Shelley Kohan, vice president of retail consulting for RetailNext. "This is due primarily to six fewer days and more digital buying choices."
A Forest City study found that 32% expect to spend more on kid's clothing, 28% on child accessories and 26% on toys with 23% saying they will spend more on value brands than in 2012.
"What your children want takes priority over your personal wishes," said Jane Lisy, senior vice president of marketing with Forest City, an owner and operator of shopping centers around the country. "And surprisingly, almost two-thirds of shoppers might get caught short, because they aren't aware that there are six fewer holiday shopping days this year."
The traditional holiday shopping season, which runs from Black Friday to Christmas Day, is nearly a week shorter than last year, because December 1 fell on the Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend.
"This gives shoppers less time after Black Friday to do their gift buying," Lisy told MainStreet. "In past shortened holiday seasons, shoppers have run out of time and stores couldn't handle the flood of last-minute shopping. It causes shoppers more frustration if they wait to finish their gift buying."
To make up for the perceived loss of potential income in a year with shortened shopping days, many retailers are pushing for stronger online sales.
But online shopping has its pitfalls.
"Free shipping can also mean slower shipping," said Amine Khechfe, general manager and co-founder of Endicia, which sells postage online. "If you procrastinate, make up for it by purchasing expedited shipping."
Despite six days less of shopping before Christmas, retailers are finding a boost in sales through Wi-Fi and mobile apps.
"Online shopping data shows that consumers took full advantage of their mobile devices to shop on Thanksgiving Day and omnishop while in stores on Black Friday," said Tamara Gaffney, principal analyst with Adobe Digital Index. "In an attempt to play every angle possible, retailers poured money into new mobile capabilities by adding Wi-Fi to key stores, expanding mobile app offerings and optimizing websites for easier transactions from small screens."
Online sales reached $1.93 billion on Friday November 30, a year-over-year increase of 39%, according to the Adobe Digital Index 2013 online shopping data. Thanksgiving broke the $1 billion mark with record online sales of $1.062 billion with smart phones and tablets driving more than 24% of online sales.
"Consumers already began feeling the six fewer shopping days when retailers rolled out their Christmas decorations and deals earlier than usual," Lisy said.