What The Season's Hottest Toy Reveals About How Holiday Retail is Changing
Black Friday shopping data can tell you some important things about the economy and where it is heading, but it can’t tell you what people really want to know: Where can I get a Hatchimal for $49.99?
The answer: Pretty much nowhere.
The third-party retailer price was up to $249.00 on Amazon.com on Friday morning.
The reason that particular electronic egg is so hard to find right now is tied up in the data. Retailers were not so bullish this year about sales prospects, particularly about in-store shopping. The days of people lining up outside stores by the thousands to rush in for doorbusters are mostly gone, given way to scouring online for deals.
In a forthcoming report from marketing consultant Zeta Global, 52 percent of their survey said they would be shopping on Black Friday, while 61 percent were going to be shopping on Cyber Monday, where 72 percent thought the prices were better.
One way retailers get people in stores is to limit supply. Hatchimals were one of the toys that retailers hedged by not ordering them by the shipping container. Many other retailers have held off on toy orders overall this year, waiting to see what would be popular, according to data from Panjiva.
Another lure to get consumers to the stores this year: giant bears. Target, Walmart, Macy’s, JCPenney, Toys R Us and other retailers all had specials on giant teddies, most not available online. They also stocked other large items, like TVs, which are difficult to ship, but which are perennially a hot holiday item.
Clothing-based retailers relied on deeply-discounted items to get people lined up, like $10 pajama sets at JC Penney and $19.99 boots at Macy’s.
But in-store sales may still end up being eclipsed by online sales, and all of it reduced slightly by the price breaks retailers are offering to lure shoppers. Adobe reports that Thanksgiving Day is likely to come close to $2 billion in retail sales, although their analysts note that “heavy discounting seen in the early hours of the day has slowed revenue growth.” Tablets, for example, are seeing a 25.1 percent discount on average today compared to just 12.2 percent last year.
Friday morning, Target reported that it had record-breaking sales on Target.com on Thanksgiving itself, while making a side note that millions of guests also visited Target stores. Among its highlights:
- Sold 3,200 TVs every minute in the first hour of store opening
- Sold half a million video games within the first hour of store opening
- Sold five times more wireless headphones this Black Friday compared to last year
Dealnews.com, a deal aggregation site, said that through 7:30 am on Friday, electronic deals were the most popular on its site, clicked on 19 percent more than other deals. Clothing and home and garden deals were the next most popular, while toys were at the bottom of the list.
“There are enough gaming system options to keep them in stock,” said Ben Glaser, features editor for Dealnews.
But Hatchimals? Glaser had no suggestions there.