WASHINGTON – Black Friday,Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday: Retailers hope shoppers’ wallets are ready for the holiday season and its special shopping days.
Cyber Monday,a term coined in 2005 by Shop.org,refers to the Monday after Thanksgiving and is marketed as one of the busiest online shopping times of the year.
Online holiday sales in November and December are expected to grow 15 percent to $82 billion this year,according to a report released by the National Retail Federation. The average shopper will spend more than a third of his or her budget online,according to the study.
Each year,new records are set as more and more people enjoy the convenience of shopping online. In 2012,Cyber Monday sales reached $1.47 billion,17 percent higher than 2011 and 22 percent over Cyber Monday 2010.
“Overall,retailers are optimistic for the 2013 holiday season,hoping political debates over government spending and the debt ceiling do not erase any economic progress we’ve already made,” Matthew Shay,the federation’s president and CEO,said.
The federation’s holiday sales forecast takes into account several indicators,including consumer confidence,consumer credit,disposable personal income and previous monthly retail sales.
Jessica Lew,22,a public policy student at George Washington University and a D.C. resident,said she is a big fan of online deals because there are no Black Friday crowds.
“I used to look at Black Friday deals and see what was happening,but after this year I know I can get deals all the time,so I’m no longer concerned,” she said.
Lew plans to buy handbags for herself and a necklace for her mother during the holidays.
Amazon is beginning its Black Friday sale a day earlier than 2012 and will have new deals and gift ideas as often as every 10 minutes in an attempt to keep customers on its website.
Those stores launched a similar price-matching campaign a year ago. Both companies have since made their price-matching policies permanent. Shoppers who buy an item and then find a lower price will be eligible for a refund for the difference through Christmas Eve.
“Black Friday is our Super Bowl,and we plan to win,” Duncan Mac Naughton,chief merchandising and marketing officer of Walmart U.S.,said in a statement.
A counterpart to Black Friday and Cyber Monday is Small Business Saturday – a nationwide event to encourage holiday shoppers to spend some of their holiday dollars at local,independent businesses.
Small Business Saturday,which began during the 2010 holiday season,is endorsed by the Small Business Administration and supported by American Express and the National Federation of Independent Business.
Chris Jepsen,a salesman at Propper Topper ,a hat,clothing and jewelry shop in the Dupont Circle neighborhood,said his employer has joined the Small Business Saturday movement. The store will donate a hat to a homeless organization each time a customer buys a children’s hat.
Jepsen said people love the atmosphere in the store and this inspires them to recreate it in their own homes.
According to the Small Business Administration,about 54 percent of all U.S. retail sales take place at America’s 23 million small businesses.
Unlike other communities with big-box and chain stores that can harness large advertising budgets to attract shoppers,local stores are mostly on their own.
About 70 percent of small-business owners (those with fewer than 100 employees) say the Saturday event will be helpful in attracting new customers,according to a recent joint survey by the National Federation of Independent Business and American Express. And 18 percent – double the proportion in 2012 – plan to advertise their participation on radio,TV or in newspapers.
“We don’t actually feel like we would need to compete with Amazon,and we don’t really offer online shopping,” Mazin Abdelhameid,assistant sales manager at Home Rule,said.
Home Rule was voted Best Home Goods Store in Washington City Paper’s readers’ choice,Best of D.C. Abdelhameid said other small businesses in Washington’s hip 14th Street shopping corridor will participate in the Small Business Saturday.
Consumers spent an estimated $5.5 billion nationwide on Small Business Saturday last year.
“I think there’s a movement afoot and it’s just starting to snowball and get bigger and bigger,” Bud Lefevre,owner of Distinctive Gardens,Dixon,Ill. said via Twitter.
Reach reporter Sihan Zhang at [email protected] or 202-326-9867. SHFWire stories are free to any news organization that gives the reporter a byline and credits the SHFWire.