Faculty conversations: Patricia Huddleston
"We can almost begin calling it 'Black Thursday' because one trend that I have seen this year — and actually, I'm kind of surprised — is that retailers are beginning to open on Thanksgiving," said Patricia Huddleston.
Huddleston is a professor in the Department of Advertising, Public Relations and Retailing. She wrote book called "Consumer Behavior: Women and Shopping," which she co-authored with Stella Minahan, a colleague in Australia. Included in the book is an analysis of the various types of shoppers, each with their own shopping motivations.
"The type of people that would shop on Black Friday would be the 'hunters' — the bargain shoppers or the people that really want the unique merchandise," she said. "They're going to be willing to stand in line and wait and maybe rush the doors in order to find those items."
Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving and is the beginning of the holiday gift-shopping season. Black Friday is one of the busiest shopping days of the year and falls on Nov. 25 this year.
Holiday spending is projected to increase about 3 percent, according to the National Retail Federation, the world's largest retail trade association.
"About 70 percent of shoppers polled are expected to buy apparel, but less than half of holiday shoppers this year are expected to buy electronics because there aren’t any real hot products this year," Huddleston said.
She said that Internet shopping will continue to grow, as will the use of coupon websites such as Groupon and LivingSocial.
"Some retailers do as much as half of their sales revenue in the holiday season, but usually it's more like 25 percent or so," Huddleston said. "So that's why they're nervous and that's why it's a really important season to get right in terms of inventory and promotions.
"Retailers have become very wise since 2008 when they were stuck with a lot of inventory and had to take really, really deep markdowns," she said. "Smart shoppers will shop early to get those items that they want."