Bargains and disputes dominating 2014 holiday shopping season
November 15, 2014

With the holiday shopping season fast approaching, retailers are preparing for the rush of activity that goes along with it. With the economic recovery close to complete, questions still remain as to whether consumers will come out in full force and provide the sales that will balance everything out for the year. Retailers should take the time to prepare with proper infrastructure such as integrated payments systems including mobile point of sale terminals. This way, they can make the shopping experience during the final months of the year pleasant. However, there is concern that shoppers are holding out instead of spending straight away. That can be an issue, but it can play to the benefit of merchants.

Bargain hunting over anything else
The National Retail Federation released its annual Holiday Consumer Spending Survey. They came to the conclusion that as of early November 2014, only 45.6 percent of holiday consumers had begun shopping. The number is only slightly down from 46.2 percent from the same time in 2013. However, it was the lowest amount surveyed since the survey began in 2008.

Now, it's understandable that people haven't begun making purchases, given it is still relatively early for holiday shopping. However, the evidence suggests otherwise. Of the people that have begun shopping, only 2.2 percent said they were already finished, while 12.4 percent completed at least a quarter of what they intended to purchase and 20.6 percent have barely begun. That indicates that many shoppers are looking to wait until Black Friday, when sales are expected, to clear at least part of their shopping list. That means there is a preference to getting the best bargain over expedience.

Complications ahead
However, there are concerns that those bargains may never come. PYMNTS reported a dispute is occurring at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the two busiest ports in the United States and the primary ports of entry for goods coming in from Asia. Currently, inventory is sitting on several docks that have yet to move out to stores across the country. Conflicting reports are coming in as to the reasons why. There is some evidence of a severe equipment shortage that is preventing goods from being placed in shipping trucks. There is also belief that the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, which represents dockworkers, is preventing workers from operating at maximum efficiency as part of contract negotiations. How this situation plays out will definitely impact retail in the coming weeks.

Nexus: G-WEBCD6