While the slow economic recovery is bad news for retailers, it may be good news for consumers, as retailers find themselves with elevated inventories and a fast approaching end to the holiday season.
I expect discounting could become very aggressive.
Opportunities for consumer savings should be across the board, and will be most welcome in the sales of electronic goods, the biggest area of gift buying this season, according to experts. According to the Consumer Electronics Association, 80% of consumers will buy some consumer electronics as gifts this holiday season. Slow consumer sales means that there will be great opportunities for consumers to save in the closing days before Christmas. But, consumers need to shop and follow the sales, if they plan to take full advantage of the deals. Don’t assume that retailers will discount across the board or that discount retailers will be the best places to shop. Neither may be true.
As we reported last month, contrary to conventional wisdom that Wal-Mart is the de facto low-priced retailer, according to an ACI study, there was no significant difference between Best Buy’s and Wal-Mart’s average consumer electronic prices – for either online or in-store shopping. In addition, differences between product selection and quality, knowledgeable staff, finding in-store help and free delivery should be all important factors in your search for gifts – factors that are not always evident between retailers. Because consumers sometimes require more information to make informed decisions on the purchase of electronic equipment, consumers may, in many instances, receive a better overall value by purchasing from a full-service retailer. The trick is to do research before you buy. Again, whether you buy consumer electronics or other gifts, shoppers need to do their homework and carefully compare prices.