Black Friday used to be the touchstone for retailers anticipating the all-important holiday shopping season, but as consumers start their gift-giving lists earlier each year, its significance may be waning — a trend Barnes & Noble College has been seeing in recent years. “Our research told us that shoppers on our True Spirit sites were looking for holiday items as early as October,” says Barnes & Noble College’s Director of Consumer Marketing, Tamara Vostok.
The growing trend in holiday shopping is changing — and if you’re curious as to why it seems to start earlier and earlier, that’s no accident, either. “Consumers are looking for great prices and promotions earlier than ever.” explains National Retail Federation President (NRF) and CEO Matthew Shay. “This time of year is about finding the right gifts while staying on budget,” he says. Barnes & Noble College’s own research would seem to bear that out. While nearly a third of college students said they would be spending more on holiday gift-giving this year, they were also looking for substantial discounts and promotions. “They’re already looking ahead — and budgeting — for their holiday shopping, so they want to get a jump start and avoid all of the stress of last-minute shopping,” says Vostok.
To cater to that need, Barnes & Noble College brought the holidays to campus early this year with websites laden with holiday content beginning in early October. To help guide time-crunched students with their shopping, product collections have been curated on their sites to offer ideas for family and friends, gifts under $25, gifts for true fan, and even items for pets. “We want to cater to everyone on their list — and to every budget,” Vostok says.
Focusing on value and sales promotions, college bookstores featured up to 30 percent off discounts on popular brands like Nike, Under Armour and Adidas for Cyber Monday, which also included free shipping. As Vostok points out, “We wanted to make it easy, and we wanted to help stretch their budgets as far as possible with some really great values.” And for those who haven’t started their holiday shopping yet, there’s plenty of time. Barnes & Noble College bookstores will continue to offer great values right up to the last minute in the countdown to the holidays.