business news in context, analysis with attitude

Marketing Daily reports on how "both Walmart and Target announced new tactics, including epic increases in digital offers and fulfillment," as they prepare for the coming holiday season:

"After watching shoppers closely for the last six months, Walmart says it’s adding 20,000 seasonal associates in its ecommerce fulfillment centers. It’s also making changes to keep shopping as safe and as low-contact as it can.

"The retailer says it’s bracing for massive demand in COVID-trend Christmas items, including more athleisure, loungewear and sleepwear, outdoor grills, bicycles and exercise equipment, and outdoor sporting equipment.

"The chain is also bulking up on playtime products and says it intends to offer 1,300 new toys, including puzzles, games and Legos. Then there are 800 Walmart exclusives planned."

"Target is also reinventing the season, doubling the number of workers focused on Drive Up and Order Pickup. (Demand for those services has quadrupled since the pandemic began.)

"And like Walmart, it’s dedicated more front-of-store team members to disinfect carts, provide masks and measure access so guests can safely distance themselves."

But what remains to be seen is how much shopping people actually will do, and when they will do it.

According to the story, "Morning Consult says that only 12% of respondents in its recent survey expect to shop in-store this Black Friday, and 52% say they plan to sit it out entirely.  Many also  intend to cut back, with 59% saying they will spend less than $300 on gifts this year, up from 50% last year … But not all forecasts are so bleak. The International Council of Shopping Centers also released a survey that finds 53% of respondents have no plans to cut back on spending over the next five months."

KC's View:

Who needs Black Friday when you've already had Prime Day?

As for the ICSC projection … we have no idea what the next 60 days are going to be like, and so it is hard to predict how people are going to feel and what they are going to spend.  This strikes me as closer to wishful thinking.