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Black Friday and the Holiday Shopping Season

Q&A With UAlbany Associate Professor of Marketing Sanjay Putrevu

Holiday Shoppers

Retailers are "leaking" their deals a few days early to generate consumer interest for the 2010 Holiday Shopping season, putting pressure on others to follow suit, says UAlbany Associate Professor of Marketing Sanjay Putrevu. 

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ALBANY, N.Y. (November 22, 2010) -- "Leaked" advertisements from major retailers have put pressure on other sellers to follow suit, while at the same time providing opportunities for consumers to better plan their Black Friday shopping, according to UAlbany Associate Professor of Marketing Sanjay Putrevu.

The School of Business associate dean for academic programs and expert in advertising effectiveness, consumer behavior and E-shopping provides analysis of the upcoming Holiday Shopping Season:

UAlbany Associate Professor of Marketing Sanjay Putrevu

UAlbany Associate Professor of Marketing Sanjay Putrevu

Q: After "Black Friday" ads for Best Buy and Target were "leaked," Wal-Mart’s Black Friday ad was subsequently leaked. Shoppers usually don't get these fliers until Thanksgiving. What’s the difference this year?

A: Since retail sales have been somewhat lukewarm in the last two years (despite some very good deals), they want to get a jump start this year by starting early. Retailers sometimes "leak" their deals a few days early to generate consumer interest. Once one store leaks its deals, there is tremendous pressure on others to follow suit. These early notifications are great for consumers as they can better plan their black Friday shopping.

Q: What are consumers interested in purchasing this holiday season?

A: Personal and home electronics are likely to be the big sellers. Consumers will be drawn toward products such as iPads, Kindle, iPods, mp3 players, LCD and LED TVs, etc.

Q: After "Black Friday" comes "Cyber Monday." How has consumer shopping behavior shifted in recent years -- is online now king? Will the long lines of consumers waiting to enter stores on Friday morning soon become a thing of the past?

A: While Online sales continue to increase, retail purchases are likely to dominate for the near future. Despite the hassles associated with long lines and limited parking, consumers are more comfortable shopping for some items (fashion items such as clothes and accessories) in stores/malls rather than online. In addition, retailers have a strong incentive to draw customers into their stores where they can cross-sell related items.

Q: How are advertisers approaching Holiday Season sales this year?

A: They are cautiously optimistic. Several signs point to a reasonable year: the stock market is up, there has been modest job growth, and interest rates remain low. These factors combined with the fact that the past two years have been rather lukewarm suggest that consumers are likely to spend more this year than in the recent past. If the holiday deals are attractively priced, this could turn out to be a very good year.

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