Sat, March 02, 2024

Where to find the holiday shopping magic

Editor’s note: I’m showing my age here but when my three sisters and I were growing up, the arrival of the Sears Wish Book was a highlight for us. It was 600+ pages of Christmas magic. We earmarked the pages of the gifts we hoped to receive. My how times have changed!

In today’s world, producing a Sears catalog and mailing it to the masses would cost a fortune. There are a scant 13 Sears remaining today because of increased competition from other big-box retailers, so no need for a catalog of Biblical proportions. JC Penney still mails a skinny version, but the online sites have stepped up their game to whet your appetite for their online offerings.

The rise of Amazon and other online shopping options were the nail in the coffin for Sears and play a role in how and where people shop, not only for the holidays, but year-round. The good news for local retailers is that shoppers plan to spend at pre-pandemic levels.

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The big question is: where is the holiday shopping money going? The spending is apparently generational.

The youngest shoppers (ages 18 to 29, largely adult Gen Zs) are shaping up to be the most resilient spenders this year. They respond to holiday deals on social media. ABD has done several stories in the past year about small shops who have created online shopping opportunities. This could be a boost for CSRA small businesses.

Brick-and-mortar stores are open for business, but the lion’s share of this season’s shopping could take place online. Almost everyone (93%) will buy at least some gifts online, and nearly half (47%) indicate they will purchase all or most of their holiday gifts online.

Amazon, Wayfair, and JC Penney catalogs have replaced the behemoth Sears Wish Book, if not in size, at least in customer reach.

The good news is that many shoppers are looking for unique gift ideas, great customer service, and fostering a sense of community. Holiday shoppers may feel that it’s important to shop at small businesses to support them and boost the CSRA economy.

If you are shopping for someone who has everything, consider a gift card to some of the incredible locally-owned restaurants or a donation in someone’s name to a charity.

Dana Lynn McIntyre offers some local CSRA gift options in her report on Small Business Saturday. In addition, ABD will present two special editions on Thanksgiving and Black Friday for gift-giving ideas.

We will leave you with this thought and yes, there is a grammatical error, but it was posted by a very busy small business owner. Enjoy your holiday!

Editor’s Note:
Mitzi Oxford is a veteran broadcaster and features writer who also worked at the same television station in Columbus, Georgia as Augusta’s Brad Means! If you have a South Carolina story idea for Mitzi, please email her at mitzioxfordcreative@gmail.com.

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