Americans are bracing for their second shopping season in trade frictions. Under the pressure of tariffs, retailers prepare in advance, force no price increases, and even cut prices to promote, in an attempt to create a festive shopping atmosphere. As a result, this year’s “Black Friday” shopping season, the “dead-end siege- ” in previous years, the rush to buy this year is not common, the major retailers stores are prevalent “men’s car” situation, offline sales fell 6.2% year-on-year.
Online, the Observer notes that the black five’s best-selling item of the day is still toys and electronics — both of which are on the White House’s top tariff list. Final online sales, though up 19.6 per cent year-on-year, fell short of previous estimates. Some media fear that this year’s U.S. shopping season will repeat last year’s “tragedy”.
“Don’t sell now, sell next year”
On November 30, CNBC News quoted ShopperTrak, a U.S. retail traffic monitor, as saying that sales at the Black Friday, the department store giants such as Macy’s, Kohl’s and Fluor, fell 6.2 percent from a year earlier.
A New York Times field interview found that a number of shopping malls on the East Coast of the United States are prevalent in the “men’s croquet” situation.
“It’s like a ghost town. “A customer in Maryland said inside Macy’s, “The promotion started long ago, but look at this place, no one, no body or nobody.” Another customer who went to the shopping town of Virginia’s Fashion Center said in surprise, “I thought there were people everywhere.” But no. I only saw a bunch of tabs that were folded, and I didn’t see anyone. “
In previous years, Americans” “dead-end siege-style” snap-ups have been unusual this year. “I thought there were crowds here. But this year is not a mess at all, very orderly. I bought some pajamas and socks. Another customer said, “It’s empty and it’s a bit depressing.” “
The “black five” usually refers to the day after Thanksgiving (this year’s Thanksgiving day is November 28th, US time). The end of November and December, due to the connection between Thanksgiving and Christmas, are traditionally american shopping seasons. But as early as November 26th, the non-governmental organization, the World Federation of Large Enterprises, warned that the consumer confidence index for the Fourth month in a row would fall in November.
It’s worth noting that the number of days between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year is six fewer than last year. Coupled with the cumulative effect of tariffs, U.S. retailers are having a headache – meaning they have to stock up in advance to avoid extra tariffs, but need to sell goods in less time.
With two winter storms in the past week across the country, many Americans have had to weigh the risks of going out. “If retailers don’t sell things this year, they need more extreme clearance next year,” said Natalie Kotlyar, an analyst at BDO USA, a US retail consultancy. “
Overall, 2019 is a winter for U.S. retailers. Macy’s, Kohl’s and Fluor’s three department store giants have issued a mid-year earnings warning. So far in the year, all three companies have fallen more than 25 per cent.
Forced not to increase the price, online sales still not up to standard
Observer.com notes that with it reporting on the slump in sales below the shopping festival, several U.S. media outlets are eyeing the “hot” line of the “Black Five”. Data analytics agency Adobe (309.53, 0.47, 0.15%) Analytics revealed that “Black Five” online sales on the day reached $7.4 billion, up 19.6 percent from a year earlier.
But U.S. online retailers have been forced to face the pressure of tariffs.
On November 28th Reuters cited research by retail industry research firm Profitero, which found that prices at major U.S. retailers such as Wal-Mart and Amazon had not risen sharply during the “Black Friday” period, keeping relatively stable. The retail price of toys and games was 0.2% cheaper than in the same period.
Toys, home appliances, electronic products and other goods, are included in the White House’s tariff list. In June, data from the global trading partner consultancy predicted that shoes would rise 8 per cent across the country, toys by 16 per cent, home appliances by 3 per cent and travel supplies by 10 per cent across the US under continued tariff pressure. Hurt S heartland, a lobby group representing 150 U.S. industry groups representing agriculture, manufacturing, retail and technology, has written to the White House several times asking the latter to think twice.
To date, the agency is also tracking the damage that tariffs are taking on the U.S. economy. As of the time of writing, the amount was approximately $38,574.9 million.
It should be noted that this year’s “Black Five” line of the best-selling two categories of goods, are toys and electronics. The Ice And Ice Edge 2 doll, launched by Hasbro, and Apple’s old wireless headphones are the best-selling products in both sectors. Observer.com notes that both items fell during the “Black Five” period at the official price of both items on Amazon.com, while unofficial (i.e., non-direct retailers) prices rose.
Apple headset list history (yellow area is official price)
Ice and snow odd edge doll selling price history (yellow area is the official sale price)
Even if retailers “swallow” tariff costs for consumers, this marketing strategy has not had a surprising effect on black five online sales. Adobe Analytics, a data analytics firm, had earlier estimated that sales on the “Black Five” line should have reached $7.6bn this year as U.S. consumers became more accustomed to online spending patterns – and now the transcripts are not up to standard.
This winter will be the second shopping season for Americans in the face of trade frictions. Last year, tariffs dampened Americans’ spending interest, with U.S. sales up just 2.1 percent year-on-year during the shopping season, well below the 3.7 percent average. The Washington Post fears that this year’s shopping season will repeat last year’s tragedy. But the U.S. Retail Federation is optimistic that it will hold its hopes for next week’s E Monday shopping day, arguing that sales growth this year will return to previous levels.