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Spending behaviors shift over holiday shopping weekend

Experts expect tomorrow's so-called "Cyber Monday" sales to see an uptick over last year. But will it be enough for businesses to consider the extended shopping weekend a success? For some insight, Shelly Banjo of the Wall Street Journal joins PBS NewsHour's Alison Stewart.

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  • ALISON STEWART:

    Experts expect tomorrow's so-called Cyber Monday sales to see an uptick over last year, but will it be enough for businesses to consider the extended shopping weekend a success?

    For some insight, we're joined now by Shelly Banjo of The Wall Street Journal.

    And, Shelly, let's just talk about the numbers, the sheer numbers.

  • ALISON STEWART:

    What kind of spending went on? And when did it happen, given so many stores opened on Thursday?

  • SHELLY BANJO:

    Sure.

    So, we're seeing spending online skyrocket, just up double digits, just the same as last year, really going above years past in both Thanksgiving and on Friday and throughout the weekend.

    Different numbers have come out vs. how the brick-and-mortar retailers have fared, but pretty much on par with last year.

  • ALISON STEWART:

    Let's talk about that brick-and-mortar vs. online debate. For a while, it seemed that brick-and-mortars were a thing of the past; everyone was shopping online.

    Is that the case for this year?

  • SHELLY BANJO:

    I think that online people definitely were shopping more, but people still went out to the store.

    So, I went out to a Wal-Mart on Thursday night at — after Thanksgiving, and the lines were out the door so much that I couldn't even get in.

    So, obviously, that's anecdotal evidence, but you're definitely still seeing people show up and go to the stores.

  • ALISON STEWART:

    Did the Thursday openings, did that have an impact on the Black Friday sales and Saturday?

  • SHELLY BANJO:

    I think it just shifts it.

    So, I think what is starting to happen is that you can't really look at just the Black Friday numbers, because when you're having sales all week, especially on, you know, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, you can't just look at the Black Friday numbers in isolation.

  • ALISON STEWART:

    So, this has become more of a marathon, rather than that — that sprint on Friday.

  • SHELLY BANJO:

    Right. Right.

  • ALISON STEWART:

    So interesting.

    I wanted to get your take on the idea of the sort of packaging of this weekend, that you have Black Friday, and then Small Business Saturday, and then today is Good Shopping Sunday, where some stores are offering a percentage to charities. And then tomorrow is Cyber Monday.

    Is this actually reflect people's behaviors and their wants, or is just a marketing ploy to have retailers just continue to have people focused on shopping?

  • SHELLY BANJO:

    Right. I think it's probably a little bit of both.

    I think that a lot of people are — are coming to expect deals. But I asked one of the Wal-Mart executives this question, and he said, you know, I can't — let's just call it November at this point… you know, because it's like every single day, there's some sort of sale, some sort of marketing gimmick.

    And not only are you having sales, but then you're also getting personalized e-mails telling you to come in, get an extra 10 percent off.

    So, it's just about messaging and continuing the hammering down to the consumers, you know, now is the time to get a deal to keep them coming in the doors and shopping.

  • ALISON STEWART:

    There's also an interesting statistic out there, that people are shopping for themselves initially, that they're self-gifting.

    Is this good news for the economy and good news for the shopping season, or what is it — or is it just an effect of the economy, that people are waiting to buy things themselves until they go on sale?

  • SHELLY BANJO:

    I think people are — are waiting to buy things for themselves to go on sale, especially things like phones, laptops, televisions.

    Seeing a ton of consumer electronics this year, which is rare and interesting, because consumer electronics haven't actually been doing that well.

    And so a lot of people have been buying these things for themselves and waiting because they know that this discount is going to come now.

  • ALISON STEWART:

    Traditionally, there's a lull after this five-day period. What is the forecast?

  • SHELLY BANJO:

    I think it's going to be a struggle for retailers to keep shoppers coming in.

    They have got three — three or four weeks now until Christmas. And there's generally a huge kind of run-up in Black Friday weekend and then the Saturday before Christmas. And, in between, that's when the real fight, I think, is going to be fought.

  • ALISON STEWART:

    You were saying that 10 and 15 percent doesn't cut it anymore with a sale.

  • SHELLY BANJO:

    Yes.

    You know, you see these signs now 40 percent off, 50 percent off in October. So, why am I going to be excited about 10 or 15 percent off at a store?

  • ALISON STEWART:

    Shelly Banjo from The Wall Street Journal, thank you for being with us.

  • SHELLY BANJO:

    Thanks.

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