East Coast Blizzard to Boost Online Sales

Dec 27, 2010 • Uncategorized
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I was dreaming of a white christmas but this is just absurd

As I sit in Laguna Beach looking at the Pacific ocean I can’t help but feel sorry for the rest of my family in Connecticut.  Right now the North East is getting hit by a Blizzard that could drop as much as 2 feet of snow in some areas.  Airports shutdown, roads closed and families stuck in the same home together longer than they anticipated and all this in the busiest retail season of the year.  Unfortunately for brick and mortar retailers they will not be able to hit their end of year projections but there is an upside.

Online retailers will see a significant increase due to the snow in.  Last year in the week leading up to Christmas the Northeast was rocked with a snowstorm that provided a 13% increase in sales online.  This however was the week before Christmas and the current storm is affecting the week after Christmas.  This week, for most retailers, mirrors the period after Thanksgiving with deep discounts and clearance items.

The interesting data to track will be what this blizzard does to overall holiday sales.  While this year sales online increased over 12% to date, the majority of retailers still rely on mall visits and in store purchases for the bulk of their sales.   According to Richard Jaffe, retail analyst at Stifel Nicolaus from a Wall Street Journal Article,

“The last week of December, which the storm fell in, contributes about 15% to 20% of overall December sales, and just under one-third of national retail sales take place in the snow-hit areas.”

Jaffe goes on to say

“During these high volume days before Christmas, a lost day or two is meaningful,”

While expectations are mapped out 6-9 months prior and are based on buying trends and macroeconomic predictions the loss of foot traffic to retailers will certainly hurt this holiday season.  The Northeast is not alone.  California has also been hit by massive rains and mudslides that effected retailers.

As retailers create more viable places not in-store for consumers to purchase their goods how will they arbitrage weather concerns next year?  How did you do most of your shopping this year?

Photo Credit to Jacquelyn Martin in Washington of the Associated Press

Chris Van Dusen

President of i-FFICIENCY, Director Business Development and New Media at Rief Media, http://riefmedia.com,Tech Enthusiast, Early Adopter, Remote Efficiency Jedi

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