The conditioned consumer!
What started out a number of years ago as a simple tactic for gaining a competitive advantage during the holiday season has become a full fledged price war. I think it originally started to spur sluggish sales but then it quickly became a tactic to lure shoppers to spend earlier and earlier in the season. As with most marketing efforts that weren’t well thought out what followed were unintended results. For the first few years the consumer responded to the sales but as retailers tried to one up the competition with bigger and better offers the consumer became very savvy. We’ve now reached the point where the consumer has control of the game. They know the longer they wait the better the deal. Once gift cards became popular the game got ever better for the consumer. They can now use their gift card to buy at post holiday sale prices and get more bang for the buck. It will be very interesting to see the final holiday sales results. Sales are probably up a bit but at what cost. It will be very interesting to see how the big box retailers deal with this in the long run. How can they get the pricing genie back in the bottle and keep the consumer engaged.