It’s certainly true that Americans are shopping more this winter than they have in the past few years—we’ve got the figures to prove it. But what’s really fascinating about this newfound retail momentum is how it’s changing the way we shop. According to a report from the Associated Press, four new categories of shopper have emerged in recent months.
First, there’s the bargain timer. These folks know it’s not just about hitting the sales, but hitting them at precisely the right time—namely, at the very beginning and very end of promotions, when markdowns are believed to be deepest. According to the International Council of Shopping Centers, 2011’s Black Friday weekend sales surge was followed by two weeks of relative retail calm. Once pre-Christmas promotions hit, however, stores saw a major traffic increase once again.
Thanks to the midnight buyer, waking up in the wee hours to catch the best deals may be a thing of the past. These shoppers knew to line up on Thanksgiving night—not early on Black Friday morning—for access to the best selection and savings. The National Retail Federation found that 24 percent of Black Friday shoppers arrived at midnight. And take a look at our report from that fateful weekend: about 15,000 bargain-hunters were ready and waiting at midnight for the Mall of America’s early opening, while over 9,000 stormed Macy’s Herald Square flagship at the same time.
A third breed of spender was born out of buyer’s remorse. The returner loads up her cart with majorly marked down merch, buys more than she planned to, then brings much of it back once she’s thought long and hard about what she wants to keep. The National Retail Federation found that for every dollar spent in stores this season, the shops will be handing 9.9 cents back in returns.
Lastly, the "me" shopper seems to borrow advice from Parks & Recreation‘s Tom and Donna. Happy to take their "treat yo’ self!" mantra to heart, such spenders adopt a "one for you, one for me" policy, picking up goodies for themselves while also purchasing presents for loved ones. Predictably, the stores aren’t complaining—they’re actually encouraging such behavior by launching new campaigns urging customers to buy themselves new cashmere sweaters, iPads and other luxuries this holiday season. Most of us at Lucky, whether or not we like to admit it, fall squarely into this category…and we’ve got the Lucky Hauls to prove it.
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