Just as the holiday sales surge ends for online retailers, preparations begin for holiday 2017. To aid retailers as they begin to analyze last year and prep for November and December 2017, price monitoring firm 360pi today presents findings from its Holiday Insights Executive Intelligence report at the National Retail Federation Big Show in New York City.
Electronics dominated early holiday promotions, according to the new report, For example, electronics accounted for 28%, or 11 pages, of Target Corp.’s 40-page Black Friday ad 38%, or 14 pages, of Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s 37-page ad; and 83%, or 40 pages, of Best Buy’s 48-page ad. Target is No. 22 in the Internet Retailer 2016 Top 500, Walmart.com is No. 4 and Best Buy Co. Inc. is No. 12.
Additionally, marketplace sellers on Amazon.com Inc. (No. 1) continue to grow, accounting for 96.2% of all products offered on Amazon.com this holiday season, 360pi says. Additionally, from May 2015-November 2016, Amazon increased the products for sale on its site (both products sold by Amazon directly and from marketplace sellers) by 14.4% to 419,576,537 SKUs from 366,775,466. That count excludes media, food, wine, gift cards and services.
360pi also examined how online prices for small electronics sold by big retailers compared with Amazon. It found that from Nov. 20-27, Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. (No. 67) narrowed its pricing gap for small electronics with Amazon from 43% higher on average to 21% higher. Wal-Mart’s prices were 5% higher on small electronics compared with Amazon during that time. The comparison with Amazon did not include marketplace seller prices, coupon codes, loyalty program offerings, taxes or shipping.
The report also investigated dynamic pricing over the big holiday sales days of Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Dynamic pricing involves a strategy of setting flexible prices for products or services based on market demands, competitors’ prices, targeted profit margins or other factors. Based on a sample of more than 23,000 consumer electronics SKUs, 360pi finds that Amazon changed prices at least once on Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 24) on 28.4% of electronics analyzed; Wal-Mart did so for 24.8% and Target for 21.8%. On Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving), Amazon changed prices at least once for 27.7% of SKUs, Wal-Mart for 24.3% and Target for 21.0%. On Cyber Monday (the Monday after Thanksgiving) those figures were 26.9% for Amazon, 24.1% for Wal-Mart and 20% for Target.
Holiday season shoppers also witnessed some interesting promotional plays by retailers in advance of Thanksgiving weekend, the report notes. Amazon launched its Black Friday deals early and in large numbers. Wal-Mart also launched deals in early November, but generated some buzz of its own when it made an aggressive move with its “Dare to Compare” campaign, challenging shoppers to compare Wal-Mart prices with rivals including Amazon, Target and Best Buy, 360pi writes in its report.