By: Bill Wellock | Published: November 15, 2021 | 4:44 pm | SHARE: Share on FacebookTweet

Amid ongoing COVID-19 concerns and global supply chain issues, the holiday shopping season is approaching.

Black Friday marks the traditional start of big holiday deals, but shoppers are already looking for bargains. Florida State University College of Business experts are available to comment on this year’s holiday shopping trends.

Larry C. Giunipero, Professor of Supply Chain Management, College of Business

Giunipero is a professor of supply chain management in the Department of Business Analytics, Information Systems and Supply Chain at Florida State University’s College of Business. He has published more than 55 articles in various academic journals, such as the Journal of Supply Chain Management, Journal of Purchasing and Supply Management, MIT-Sloan Management Review and others. 

“This year’s Black Friday will deliver customers a different experience due to supply snarls. Below is a summary of three issues to keep in mind:

1. Expect fewer doorbuster promotions. Retailers know that consumers are flush with cash and willing to spend it this holiday season. For example, a recent Mastercard Spendingpulse survey expected jewelry and luxury items to increase more than 50 percent in spending compared to 2020 levels. Once in the store, expect to see more normally priced items. Sales may run on slower-moving inventory and discontinued items.

2. Expect to pay more for the items you purchase on Black Friday. The supply chain congestion at ports and in the overall logistics system combined with higher demand means a continuation of inflation. Plus, finding basic appliances or basic electronic items will be challenging as retailers will stock higher-margin items knowing the consumer will pay.

3. Expect to wait longer, have less assistance finding goods and use more self-service to check out. The driver shortage and lack of port and warehouse capacity have restricted supply. Retailers are also going to be understaffed during the holiday season. Coping with this environment means either reduced hours of operation or struggling to service the expected surge of customers into stores. Frustrated customers may find the better option is online shopping and Cyber Monday.”

Luke Hopkins, Associate Lecturer and Director of James M. Seneff Honors Program, College of Business

Hopkins’ research interests focus on the management of customer relationships, specifically in situations that require delivering bad news to the customer. He has published articles in Journal of Service Research, European Business Review and other journals, and he serves as director of the Center for Professional Success and the James M. Seneff Honors Program.

“This Black Friday will likely be affected by unique challenges:

1. I think the supply chain issues we’ve experienced over the past year will only increase in number. The more extended lead time will help retailers get slightly ahead of the curve, but unfortunately, consumers won’t have the stock levels and lightning-fast shipping options to which we’ve grown accustomed.

2. Customers will likely face more urgency-based pressures as the fear of a more limited stock of products is in the back of everyone’s mind.

3. I also expect to see retailers develop communication strategies centered on exclusivity. The tactic of creating urgency with limited stock has been a central tenet in Black Friday messaging, and I believe retailers will double down on this approach in 2021.”