TWICE:How will Black Friday be different than last year?
Dennis Holzer, PowerHouse Alliance: I expect Black Friday to be no different than in years past. Planning for this annual event begins earlier every year. Many retailers purchase specials earlier every year while some actually have products manufactured to meet their criteria for Black Friday specials. The Black Friday and weekend offers may be more limited quantities than in years past, but the pricing and values will still be strong and meet the criteria that consumers have come to expect.
Warren Chaiken, Almo: Black Friday 2012 will be similar to last year due to stagnant economic conditions. Manufacturers and retailers will be aggressively competing for consumer dollars. Promotions will start earlier. We may even see crazy pricing in late October. The big push will be premium products: large-panel 3D and smart TVs in the 55-inch and up screen sizes.
Fred Towns, New Age Electronics and Jack of All Games: Black Friday will come earlier this year, and the hot holiday items will be centered on thinner, lighter tablets, new PCs, Ultrabooks and audio-related accessories like headphones. There will be a lot of accessories this holiday season.
Brent McCarty, Ingram Micro Consumer Electronics: Our dealers have been asking us to have inventory ready at an earlier date. It seems that the events will begin and occur earlier this year than they have in years past. In response, we’re running our promotional campaign sooner to satisfy those requests.
Curt Hayes, Capitol Sales: Frankly, we think it will be more similar to last year than not. TVs are back in stock and should remain so through the holidays, and the pricing is just as aggressive as ever. We expect a very positive Black Friday overall.
Bill Stewart, Petra Industries: We think Black Friday sales will trend in a similar fashion for particular categories: iPhone, iPad and iPod, Bluetooth speakers, headphones, gaming, tablets, etc. The added intensity and focus of our customers who are preparing early to lure deal-hunters into their store will make the weeks leading up to Black Friday more highly charged. In addition, there is a lot of excitement surrounding accessories moving into Q4 because they’re the biggest profit drivers for retailers — especially with the release of the iPhone 5 and the pending release of the iPad Mini.
Jerry Satoren, DSI Systems: From a promotional standpoint, I don’t think that it will be very different at all. It still remains a weekend where consumers will be in a “spending frenzy” and retailers need to get them excited about spending in their store.
However, where I am hopeful that things change this year is in the level of promotion vs. last year. We are all used to and expect Black Friday doorbusters that are at cost and even below. It is the nature of the weekend. I am hoping that a little more common sense prevails this year, and retailers have a little more confidence in themselves, the strength of their brand, and faith in what they are offering to their customers.