Retailers gave bigger-than-ever holiday discounts this year. According to the Wall Street Journal, one study of online sales found that transactions with promotions increased 79 percent at the start of the holiday shopping season, as compared to last year.
“If you didn’t get 20 percent off you weren’t even trying,” Bloomberg News retail reporter Shannon Pettypiece said Monday on “CBS This Morning.”
With consumers “addicted” to deals, Pettypiece said 20 to 40 percent off at stores has become “table stakes.”
But will those savings continue into the New Year?
While sales are continuing at places ranging from Gap and Macy’s to Saks Fifth Avenue, Pettypiece said there’s one caveat.
“The retailers were curtailing their inventory going into the holidays so they didn’t really buy as much as last holiday season. So I think there will be an initial big surge in deals, but I don’t know how long they’ll last,” she said. “So in February, March a lot of those sweaters, coats, outerwear might be gone, and so, if you want a deal, get it now because the inventory isn’t what it used to be last year.”
The National Retail Federation predicts this year’s holiday sales will hit $655.8 billion, an increase of 3.6 percent from last year. But Pettypiece raised the question of whether the abundance of sales will actually equate to more spending.
“If your items were cheaper than they were last year, does that mean you bought more? Did you buy another gift for your mother, maybe something for yourself? Or did you just say, ‘Hey, I don’t have to spend as much on Christmas this year,’ and the retailers are the ones losing out in this really crucial time of year for their profits,” she said.
Pettypiece also touched on whether brick-and-mortar stores will be able to keep up with online shoppers.
“Nothing has changed in the dynamic going in 2017 from what we were in 2016, where bricks-and-mortar retail is struggling,” she said. “There is a shift online. Sure, a lot of the bulk of retail spending is still in stores, but the shift, the trend is still going to online, and the brick-and-mortar retailers really haven’t found a way to capitalize on that in the face of the competition from Amazon.”
In the future, “we’re just not going to need as many brick-and-mortar stores as we have now.”