Monday, November 23, 2015

Christmas Shopping Before Dark

Over the weekend, I saw heavy retail traffic before 4 p.m., but it had faded away to almost nothing by 6 p.m. It was a similar pattern the weekend before. This is not consistent with a pattern of consumers forgetting to go shopping, something I had speculated a month ago based on the results of shopper surveys. It does suggest that shoppers are reluctant to spend much time on their Christmas shopping.

I read one retail analyst suggesting that the average mall visit this year consists of quick targeted visits to no more than three stores. I wonder how many shoppers have time to find out about the range of stores that are available in the malls they visit. If shoppers are moving too fast to take the time to look around, this has implications for retailers wanting to launch a new mall store. It might take some shoppers ten mall visits over a period of years just to notice that the new store is there. A store could open, try several approaches, then close after five years with most mall shoppers never finding out any of this was happening. This represents a new challenge for malls, especially given the increasing store turnover of the last six years. What will make shoppers want to stay in the mall long enough to see what’s there?