Shoppers will flock to Orange County malls and stores Friday for Black Friday as usual, but Cyber Monday will generate more sales, according to a Chapman University economics professor.
With younger adults migrating more toward online shopping, prompting an expected 14% increase in e-commerce compared to last year’s fourth quarter, Cyber Monday “will be even stronger than Black Friday,” said Raymond Sfeir, director of Chapman University’s A. Gary Anderson Center for Economic Research.
“In the last couple of years (e-commerce) has been growing quite fast,” Sfeir said. “Young people like to order things when they’re at home, ordering things on the phone instead of going to the mall.
“And stores, more and more of them, are offering things online. And the software is getting better, making it easier for people to buy things online.”
The consumer sentiment index this month has improved over October, which was an improvement over September and August, Sfeir said.
“So it looks like consumers are in a good mood,” he said. “Also, inflation is on the low side, still under 2%, and that is also a plus with consumers.”
The unemployment rate is “the lowest in decades, more than 50 years,” Sfeir said.
Sfeir rejected predictions of a recession in 2020.
“The economy is still very strong,” Sfeir said. “Consumption has been growing steadily over the last several years and we expect that to continue, but at a lower rate compared to this year.”
Increases to the minimum wage are helping boost the income of lower-tier workers, another stimulus to California’s economy, Sfeir said.
“Those at the bottom, when they have extra money they really spend it and that helps consumption even more,” Sfeir said.
Shannon Campbell, the marketing director at District at Tustin Legacy shopping center, said she has noticed foot traffic is on the rise.
“I’d say it’s higher” than last year. “Our sales have been so strong here.”
With a late Thanksgiving this year, “There’s more urgency for people,” Campbell said. “They’re thinking, `Oh my gosh, I don’t have as much time as I did last year.”’
Some of the best sales are happening this week, she said.
“The best sales could be now so why wait. You don’t have as much selection if you wait,” Campbell said.
The District will bring back its Holiday House, which began last year. This year it has added features such as life-sized candy canes, reindeer, penguins and an enchanted forest theme, Campbell said.
South Coast Plaza marketing director Debra Gunn Downing said, “Our business has been very strong this year, so we’re expecting that to continue into the fourth quarter.
“We’re expecting a substantial increase in foot traffic because of that and the weather forecast of rain,” she said. “We’ve dubbed Black Friday `Fabulous Friday’ at South Coast Plaza to draw people looking for experiences that can’t be found online.”
The Costa Mesa shopping center offers multiple attractions suited for selfies, Downing said. The shopping center has three massive Christmas trees, including one outside.
Children can take a ride on a train and visit Santa Claus in an alpine village, she said. South Coast Plaza will feature new pop-up boutiques with more of a focus on art for the holiday season, she added.
“Last year, we began a pop-up boutique program and have expanded it with four exclusive pop-up stores open just for the holiday season,” Downing said.
“Please Do Not Enter, EB Denim, Nectar Bath Treats and Maison Margiela REPLICA. We’ve selected these brands because they are unique boutiques and can’t be easily found in other shopping centers.”
The shopping center has also added an interactive art installation by Lara Schnitger inspired by teenage climate-change activist Greta Thunberg.