TWICE: How will Black Friday promotions this year compare to 2012 and 2011? Which categories will experience the most activity?
Tim Coakley, Ingram Micro Consumer Electronics: Black Friday [for Ingram] is projected to exceed the performance of the 2011 or 2012 campaigns. While we will be offering special pricing from industry-leading brands spanning all of our product segments, flat-panel TVs, housewares, Bluetooth speakers and headphones will be the headliners that will receive the highest demand.”
Kevin Kelly, Stampede Presentation Products: Lower and lower retail prices on larger and larger HD televisions will be the primary focus of most Black Friday promotions this year. With it we will see a lot of activity around those products that enhance the television experience, particularly audio products. Sales of soundbars and subwoofers are really gaining traction, and we expect that trend to only strengthen.
Streaming devices, such as Google Chromecast, Apple TV and Roku are also going to be heavily promoted by their respective providers. In terms of the amount of spending done to promote these products, we expect the push to be significant.
Rob Eby, D&H Distributing: Black Friday promotions have been getting more aggressive every year, including this year. Hot categories like mobility are likely to attract the most customers, especially since so many new tablet formats are emerging, like convertible and “twist” models that function as both tablets and laptops.
In addition, new gaming consoles like Sony Play- Station 4 and Microsoft Xbox One will be hot holiday items, so retailers may use them as a focus for Black Friday promotions.
Fred Towns, New Age Electronics and Jack of All Games: Industry research shows that consumer spending for holiday is projected to be up 2 percent from 2012. There are several categories that will have a flurry of activity.
The launch of new gaming consoles like Xbox One and PS4, as well as the anticipated new game releases such as “Grand Theft Auto V” and “Call of Duty: Ghosts,” will increase demand in the overall category. Additionally, the Wii U price dropped, which will stimulate opportunity around Nintendo. We will also see an aggressive shift to digital downloads for gaming content as ESD becomes more relevant and the transition from box to digital becomes more acceptable.
Tablets will also be a big seller as pricing comes down and more quality options are available. We will see entry-level pricing around touch notebooks ($399) and entry-level touch all-in-one devices ($399).
And consumers are on their second and third set of headphones to match their lifestyles. Growth of the mobile phone category will stimulate headphone sales as well.
Warren Chaiken, Almo: We believe that tablets and flat-panel TVs will receive the most promotional activity this Q4. So far, the flat-panel promotions we’ve seen are similar to last year while tablet promotions appear to be more aggressive, which is expected given increased competition in this category.
Dennis Holzer, The PowerHouse Alliance: Promotions this year will be no different than in years past. Both big box and independent retailers will have the opportunity in most CE categories to buy Black Friday weekend specials in advance. While these opportunities will not be as deep as they have been because of price compression, they will still be available from most vendors. In addition, look for audio, headphone, tablets and smartphone promotions.
Jerry Satoren, DSI Systems: I don’t see Black Friday promotions this year being much different than in the past two. Prices will be as aggressive as ever. We will continue to see retailers try to get an early jump by promoting selected “Black Friday” events and items beginning in early November.
The recent trend of stores being open to shoppers for at least a part Thanksgiving Day will also continue. Further, I do think that in the interest of keeping some of the hottest deals close to the vest, we will see more retailers use last-minute TV and ROP ads to maintain their competitive advantage.
Most of the activity this year will come from the same places it has the past few years. In TV, the 60-inch size will be hyper aggressive along with the usual small screen sizes sold below cost. Low-cost tablets, headphones and wireless speakers will be at the top of the best-seller list this year as well.
Curt Hayes, Capitol: We will continue to see a growing focus on streaming. Expect to see promotions that tie together complete home entertainment packages that include networked entertainment products, displays and accessories. Also, video games will be in the spotlight thanks to upcoming introductions from the biggest players. These products will be a star attraction of the holiday selling season, not least of which due to the fact that they offer networking benefits, too.
Bill Stewart, Petra Industries: Promotions will follow trends set in previous years. Consumer awareness of Black Friday and Cyber Monday will pressure retailers to launch doorbuster sales earlier than ever [and] will be looking for the best deals on the most popular gift items. They will likely use their mobile device to compare prices as they shop.
Tablet sales are projected to remain very strong for the holiday gift-buying season. As an accessories distributor, we expect that our dealers will see high levels of attachment rates as shoppers seek to protect and personalize devices they’re giving as gifts as well as those they personally own. In addition, the gaming category should experience higher activity levels as Sony and Microsoft introduce upgrades to PlayStation and Xbox game consoles. This gives dealers even more opportunity to attach a variety of accessories to these highly anticipated gift items.