Here's The Big Shopping Holiday You Probably Haven't Heard Of

Photo: Getty Images.
The final stretch of the year is typically when we finally succumb to our full online shopping carts and do a lot more shopping than we've done during the prior 12 months. It's half "it's been a rough year, you deserve this," and half too-good-to-be-true discounts across categories. Black Friday and Cyber Monday help us stock up our closets plenty before the holidays. But there's another big shopping day you've probably been participating in without realizing, and it's called Super Saturday.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are big events for consumers (you know, being knee-deep in discounts and all), but Super Saturday is a term coined by retailers to mark the last-minute rush to buy presents before the holidays officially kick off. It refers to the Saturday before December 25, when folks typically take advantage of the weekend to cross off those final names off their gift lists. (Hence why its alternate title on Wikipedia is "Panic Saturdays.")

You'll still have a shot at finding a bargain or two, though: Given slow traffic retailers have observed this year, many brands are ramping up promotions to draw in potential customers. Matthew Shay, president and CEO of the National Retail Federation, said in statement that he expected stores to "once again be competitive on price and value options in the final stretch, especially on Super Saturday."

This year, Super Saturday fell on December 17. While the event didn't exactly hit its expected target (a study from the NRF and Prosper Insights & Analytics foresaw 155.7 million people shopping on Saturday — a considerable jump from the 99 million that made the rounds during Thanksgiving weekend), it was still a pretty successful day for retailers. Given the end-of-year boost it gives retailers, Forbes dubs Super Saturday "the busiest shopping day of the holiday season." Still, compared to past Super Saturdays, it wasn't all that impressive a turnout, WWD reports.

There were a couple of factors working against retailers this time around: First off, the weather was awful on Super Saturday, with snow and rain falling on much of the north and central parts of the country. Then, there's also a consumer trend toward chasing discounts. Retailers that specialize in apparel, for instance, "had to offer 40 percent off just to get people into the stores," Craig Johnson of retail research firm Customer Growth Partners told WWD. (He adds that 50% is the "tipping point" discount for customers that results in actual purchase.) A desire to get shoppers in the door plus a need to sell excess inventory from past seasons means good news for consumers — although not that huge of a jump for profit for retailers.

Overall, though, analysts are hopeful: 2016 may have been garbage overall, but it does grant us one final Saturday before Christmas Day, which gives shoppers one last opportunity (read: mad dash) to find every last gift they need to give. "Up until this point, we've been slightly behind in traffic," Marshal Cohen, a retail industry analyst at NPD Group, told WWD. "With one more weekend to go, [the extra Saturday] will be a nice opportunity for retailers." Hey, no shame if you're cutting it close with your holiday shopping this year — we've got you covered.
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