UF expert sees busy jump on holiday shopping season
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A University of Florida expert in retailing predicts big crowds in stores when the holiday shopping season kicks off Friday, despite the gloomy economy.
With stores opening earlier than ever on Black Friday, large crowds looking for deals are expected.
“People in this economy are looking for the bargains,” said Steven Kirn, executive director of the David F. Miller for Retailing Education and Research Center at UF. “Consumers are still watching what they spend, but they’ll show up.”
Projections for holiday spending are expected to increase 3 percent to 4 percent this year compared with last year, according to the National Retail Federation, with Americans expected to spend on average $712 on gifts this year.
Technology is also helping consumers find the best deals out there. Along with online shopping, mobile apps are increasing in popularity.
“Retailers are integrating apps into the shopping experience,” Kirn said. “People are using apps on the spot to compare prices, locate a store with a certain product and to get product information by scanning codes.”
Overall, days like Black Friday generate excitement and result in spending.
“It gets people in the spirit,” Kirn said. “Retailers can’t sell something if people are not in the store. These deals generate foot traffic, which leads to a higher ability of selling something.”
Kirn can be reached at 847-528-8282 or Steven.firstname.lastname@example.org