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Shoppers emerge on Black Friday

November 29, 2011
Filed under From the Editors

I was pleased this morning when I Googled “Black Friday motorcycle dealer” and found pages upon pages of search data that showed a lot of powersports dealers had their hats in the ring as the first big holiday shopping weekend kicked off.

The promotions were wide-ranging and hopefully effective. I saw announcements about tent sales, PG&A discounts, non-current closeouts, free T-shirts, featured models and more. Hopefully if you had a Black Friday event, the crowds came out and you were able to make some sales.

News on the national front was great. The National Retail Foundation and BIGresearch announced that a record 226 million shoppers hit the stores this past weekend, and they spent a total of $52.4 billion.

“Stuffed to the brim from their holiday meals and eager to shop, more consumers than ever turned out for retailers’ Black Friday promotions, a promising sign for the economic recovery,” NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay said. “After an historic holiday weekend, retailers know the holiday season is far from over and will continue to look for ways to excite holiday shoppers and build on the momentum we’ve seen thus far.”

Though the survey doesn’t break out powersports statistics, some of the numbers are worth examining for our industry. One important number is $398.62, which is the average amount a customer spent over the weekend. That’s up from $365.34 last year. And men, a key powersports demographic, shelled out about $484.24 each, increasing their spending by $67.19 when compared to 2010. Women increased their spending to $319.19, about $1 more than last year.

The number of customers buying sporting goods or leisure items and “other” items both remained about the same as last year, at 12.1 percent and 8.3 percent, respectively. However, the number of those visiting a specialty store, such as a dealership, jumped 1.6 percentage points to 19.8 million shoppers.

Though Black Friday shopping went well for many retailers, some struggled. J.L. Smith, owner of YPK Motorsports in Jackson, Ky., said his Black Friday weekend sales dipped dramatically lower than last year. He suspected appealing deals from big box stores lured away his customers. But he’s not giving up. He still has a Christmas open house scheduled, and of course, there’s plenty of time before the holidays.

Though customers on average completed 38.8 percent of their shopping this past weekend, 39.1 percent said they’ve crossed off less than 10 percent of the items on their list. So there’s still time and ample opportunity to assure some of those holiday dollars are spent at your dealership.

“Consumers are clearly demonstrating their desire to spend this holiday season, but are far from throwing caution to the wind when it comes to how much they will spend on gifts,” BIGresearch executive VP Phil Rist said. “Retailers will have to stick to an aggressive holiday promotion schedule to keep consumers interested.”

Good luck with the rest of your holiday sales, and keep promoting and selling! If you have success stories, I’d love to hear them. Email me at ehochstedler@powersportsbusiness.com or call me at 763/383-4413. Happy holidays!

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