MINNEAPOLIS — The biggest holiday shopping weekend of the year is well behind us — but not the deals that came with it.
Retailers are pushing deep discounts, often much longer than they say they will. So, why do stores keep extending their holiday sales? And will better deals pop up in the future?
A consistent stream of shoppers filled the Maker's Market and the Dayton's Project in downtown Minneapolis. Several had a few more items on their list to buy. The shopping might have slowed for a bit, but it definitely hasn't stopped, not even after Americans spent more than $22 billion online combined for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, according to Adobe Analytics.
On Cyber Monday, retailers filled email inboxes with alerts that said, "last chance" and "ends soon."
Much to the surprise of customers, those same retailers sent alerts the next few days saying, "sale extended!"
"It was kind of frustrating because you were panicked on Monday and then you're like, 'Oh, I didn't have to spend all day Monday online," said one shopper.
Did the retailers deceive people how they marketed their sales? "I don't feel that retailers are deliberately attempting to mislead consumer," said Kim Sovell, a marketing professor at the University of St. Thomas. "I think really what is happening is they offer a sale, you either get to hit that sale or your miss it. And then they're like, yeah maybe we didn't have enough people, or people didn't have enough time."
Some shoppers were happy to take advantage of the extended sales, especially since they couldn't keep up with every retailer's offers.
"It also just removes the sense of urgency. You can always wait, there will always be another sale," said another shopper.
What led to the extension of some of these big sales? In 2022, a glut of inventory was to blame. Once supply chain issues stopped, retailers had a ton of product to move last year.
This year however, Sovell said the reason has changed. "There are reports right now that the big retailers, Walmart, Target, Kohl's, and Macy's have really done a very good job of managing their inventory heading into the third quarter. So, it's not a glut of inventory," she said.
Instead, it's the competitive nature of retailers wanting you to spend money at their store versus others. Having sales that last longer with deeper discounts will draw in shoppers.
Meeting sales goals might also motivate the extended deals.
"When I was in marketing in retail environment, I know that they would have these sales kind of set up just in case. Had it all planned out for online or in email and then they would launch it if need be if they didn't hit a certain number (of sales)," said another shopper.
Should we believe the best sales are behind us? "I do think we're going to continue to have deals all the way up through the holiday. And even then, knowing that it will extend a lot of deals and maybe make them better deals after the holiday," said Sovell.
That's good news for bargain hunters or just more holiday noise to shoppers who take a more relaxed approach.
"I just shop for what I like. If it's on sale, if it's the wrong size, it doesn't matter," one shopper joked.
Super Saturday, the last Saturday before Christmas, falls on Dec. 23. It's often the last chance to find good deals and extended hours at stores.
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