Consumers in the United States are expected to shell out $602 billion during the 2013 holiday shopping season, a 3.9 percent increase over 2012, according to a projection by the National Retail Federation. With more dollars up for grabs this year, major retailers – including Best Buy and Target – are beginning to role out their deals hours, and even days, before the after-Thanksgiving buying frenzy.
Early Bird promotions heat up
According to a recent survey, 38 percent of shoppers said they were likely to shop on Thanksgiving; of those shoppers, 41 percent indicated they will be out shopping between 6 pm Thanksgiving Day and 5 am on Black Friday, the traditional start to the shopping season.
But there are holiday deals to be had well in advance of Black Friday too. Amazon is holding daily deals on a plethora of items, such as $59.99 for an Invicta Men’s I-Force watch, an 88 percent discount. Kmart’s presale begins November 24 at midnight and ends at 11:59 pm CST.
Walmart – the nation’s largest retailer, which reported $115.7 billion in total revenue for the third quarter ended Oct. 31 – is flexing its considerable market muscle in a bid to attract shoppers who plan to hit the stores before the turkey even thaws. After all, the early, and usually biggest, bird gets the worm.
“Black Friday is our Super Bowl and we plan to win,” said Duncan Mac Naughton, chief merchandising and marketing officer of Walmart U.S., in a recent press release. “With six fewer days from Thanksgiving to Christmas, the retail environment is more competitive than ever. Every opportunity to get a great deal – whether this weekend, on Thanksgiving Day or Black Friday weekend – matters for our customers. When it comes to price, we’re going to deliver for them.”
What does Walmart have in store?
One way Walmart plans to deliver for early bird customers is with specials starting at 8 am November 22. The pre-Black Friday savings event will kick off in stores and online with lowered prices on popular toys and electronics, to match select Black Friday offers from Target, Toys “R” Us and Best Buy one week early. Items part of the pre-Black Friday event include:
- LeapPad 2 – $39.99 (was $79)
- Little Tikes Cozy Coupe – $34.99 ($49.87)
- Nerf Rebelle Crossbow – $11.99 ($19.88)
- Monopoly Board Game – $5 ($7.77)
- Hot Wheels Single Car – 60 cents (97 cents)
- LG 50-inch HDTV – $448 ($598)
- Skylanders and Infinity Starter Packs – $37 ($74.96)
- Select PS4 and Xbox One Video Games such as NBA 2K14 and Battlefield 4 – $49 ($59.96)
Also, Walmart has extended its Christmas Ad Match promotion to Walmart.com customers. Customers who purchase an item on Walmart.com but find a lower price from a local brick and mortar competitor can email firstname.lastname@example.org and receive the difference on a gift card. The same policy is in place for customers at Walmart stores for items purchased November 1 through December 24, excluding Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday.
Early savings on Black Friday
Walmart’s official Black Friday events start at 6 pm and 8 pm November 28 and at 8 am November 29. Customers can take advantage of 21 one-hour Manager Specials. Shoppers after a one-hour special must be in the designated lines before 6 pm or 8 pm in order to receive a wristband to secure an item.
The one-hour specials aren’t the only marketing net Walmart is casting to catch early Black Friday dollars. Looking for a 70-inch VIZIO 1080p HDTV? Walmart will have it on sale for $998, a savings of $700. A Canon T3dsLR camera bundle, including a 75-300mm lens and 8GB card, will be $449; and Monster Headphones will be discounted by $50 ($79.95).
Starting early on Thanksgiving morning, customers can shop at Walmart.com for Black Friday deals, including an Apple iPad 2 with Bluetooth speaker for $349, and an Xbox 360 with camouflage controller for $139.
Shoppers aren’t the only ones who will benefit from Black Friday specials, Walmart says.
“This year, as a special thanks, associates who work on Thanksgiving Day will receive a 25 percent discount on an entire purchase this holiday season,” said Bill Simon, president and CEO of Walmart U.S.