Are consumers at their special spending ‘days’ limit?

Are consumers at their special spending ‘days’ limit?

Are consumers at their special spending ‘days’ limit?

While Cyber Monday sales soared, jumping more than 20% compared to last year, there is concern from consumer experts that there are too many days designated for spending.

This year, many retailers began their Black Friday sales on Thursday night, staying open straight through the traditional start to the holiday shopping season.  That was followed immediately by Small Business Saturday.  Then, shoppers turned to the internet for Cyber Monday, with a number of stores extending those sales to the entire week.  Finally, Giving Tuesday had charities encouraging people to donate to their cause in place of purchasing presents.

UW marketing professor and consumer psychologist Rob Tanner said we’re quickly reaching the limit of what consumers can take, if it hasn’t happened already.

“My speculation is this year may have been the year where they’ll begin to see some backlash,” Tanners said, “and we may see next year things aren’t quite as intense.”

Tanner predicted companies might scale back on the 24-hour openings.  He said once more stores jump on board with around-the-clock service from Thanksgiving night through Black Friday, it will only spread out when they see consumers, not necessarily attract new ones.

“If they coordinated, we would probably do less.  But because they don’t, we end up with too much.  And everyone could potentially lose,” Tanner said.

Tanner said with all of these different sectors vying for your attention and designating their own day to offer deals, it’s becoming more difficult for one to stand out.  He said cramming the calendars with such days could end up backfiring for business.

“You may as well put your fingers in your ears because it’s crazy.  And I think that’s the risk.  Because they’re not coordinated, we’re moving toward this point where it’s just too much,” Tanner said.

Tanner said the deal-minded spenders the holiday weekend targets only account for a small number of total consumers.  He said while it makes sense for charities, retailers, small businesses, and online businesses to be marketing in a similar way, stores will have to weigh the cost of staffing the extra time against what money it’s actually bringing in.

“I think its competition run a bit amuck,” Tanner explained. “Because once they all respond, there is just no benefit in all stores being open that night.  There are just not that much incremental sales to be gained.  They’re taking sales from the next day, yet they have to pay their staff all night, those staff are unhappy.  That has an impact on the firm.”