Nov 21, 2018

Retailers prep for Black Friday war with holiday deals

Amazon pop-up in Milan. Photo: Mairo Cinquetti/NurPhoto/Getty

For many traditional retailers, 2018 was another tough year. Sears and Toys "R" Us went bankrupt, and the market punished Macy's and Target for sales that were strong, but not strong enough.

But two days from now, Black Friday will kick off the holiday shopping season — a nationwide, monthlong spending spree that analysts say may pull some of the companies out of hot water. As the day closes in, online and brick-and-mortar retailers are preparing for war on the battlegrounds of shipping prices and holiday deals.

The big picture: Americans will spend an average of $1,007 each this holiday season, per the National Retail Federation. That's a 4.1% jump from last year, which is why analysts are signaling a long-awaited good season for beaten-down retailers.

  • The steepest Black Friday discounts will be for electronics, per Adobe Digital Insights. Computers will sell for an average of 16% off; tablets, 33%; televisions, 22%. Business Insider reports that the Apple Watch will sell for up to $80 off at Target and Macy's.
  • Toys have emerged as key competitive soil this season, as retailers rush to fill the void left by Toys "R" Us. Amazon and eBay have produced toy catalogs, Walmart has launched a "toy lab" that uses augmented reality to let kids test toys, and Target is clearing floor space for inventory.

Top sellers: Per Adobe, the hottest toys are L.O.L. Surprise! dolls and Fingerlings and Little Live Pets stuffed animals. Among electronics, Amazon's Fire TV and Echo are already big sellers. The video game consoles Nintendo Switch, NES Classic and Xbox One X are also selling well.

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