It was one happy day on Wall Street yesterday, and the happiest
of all were investors in
). Its shares jumped 6.5%, closing at $39.04, making it the day's
top gainer in the
Standard & Poor's 500 Index
Moreover, a look at the reasons for that enthusiasm could spread
some cheer well beyond Best Buy.
Best Buy was the focus of two new analyst reports, both reporting
greater demand for electronics and other big-ticket items. Combined
with other reports looking ahead to the holiday season, there's
reason for optimism through the end of the year.
The first report, from
Investment Technology Group
), predicts that
Best Buy will report
a same-store sales increase of 3% to 5% for the quarter that just
ended, far exceeding consensus estimates.
The report attributes the improved sales numbers to consumers'
increasing willingness to spring for higher-ticket items.
Particularly strong gains were seen for purchases above $1,000.
Popular items included bigger, sharper televisions, even the
super-high-definition, or "4K," sets
that have not caught on previously.
Separately, a retail analyst for Stifel Nicolaus & Co. said
spending on electronics
is generally improving, and that an increasing number of consumers
cited Best Buy as the store where they would shop for those
products. The analyst noted a 9% increase in consumers mentioning
Best Buy in early October, following a 12% increase in late
That would be Best Buy's best performance since 2010.
Granted, those reports and the others below are based on research
completed in September, before some of our elected representatives
decided that it would be a fine idea to shut down the United States
government, and maybe an even better idea to default on its
But let's just assume that they'll get their act together soon,
that public confidence will not be jolted by a prolonged crisis,
and that the following predictions hold true in the months ahead.
Investment firm Janney Montgomery Scott also reports better sales
of big-ticket items like new appliances as well as home
electronics. It attributes the latter to the rebound in home sales.
Holiday Shopping Survey
, from Accenture, adds more weight to a positive outlook for the
rest of the year.
According to its survey, conducted in September, 21% of consumers
said they plan to buy home electronics, compared to 15% a year ago.
And, they intend to spend an average of $646 on gifts this year, an
11% increase over a year ago.
Overall, the Accenture survey suggests a more expansive mood among
shoppers. At least, they describe their own attitude as having
shifted from "cautious" to "sensible." Economic concerns were cited
by 24%, down from 28% last year.
In fact, the word "sensible" doesn't begin to describe the attitude
of American shoppers. They're turning bargain-hunting into a
For one thing, they're not just "showrooming." They're
We've all heard about the growing habit of "showrooming," or
checking out a product in the store, and then buying it online at a
It turns out that works both ways. Wise consumers are now just as
likely to go "webrooming," that is, researching a product at online
retailers' sites and then heading out to a local store to buy it.
Consumers who "webroom" say they're saving on shipping costs. But
they also say they like getting a real-world look at the big-ticket
item that they're buying.
The Accenture survey notes that "showrooming" has gone positively
mainstream in just one year. Fully 63% of consumers plan to browse
in person but buy online this year.
But even more, 65%, say they'll do the reverse as well, researching
products online before going out to make their purchases.
Another study, from mobile marketing firm Vibe, also concludes that
a majority of consumers now engage in "showrooming" at least
occasionally, prowling brick-and-mortar stores armed with
smartphones that allow them to use price-comparison apps on the
The Vibe study
) is getting the lion's share of those sales. Fully 31% said they
finally completed their purchases on Amazon.
Presumably, they're also "webrooming" on Amazon. But that's good
news for some other retailer, one with a brick-and-mortar store.
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