East Coast Blizzard Could Boost Online Spending While Brick And Mortar Stores Suffer

By now many of you may have heard about the massive blizzard that is hitting the Northeast region of the United States over the next few days, bringing as much as two feet of snow to some areas. This, of course, is bad news for brick and mortar retailers, who have been advertising after-Christmas sales for some time now. The post-holiday shopping period has become as popular for massive discounts and sales for both online retailers and in-stores, similar to the period after Thanksgiving. The NPD Group’s retail analyst Marshal Cohen said today that it will take two to three weeks longer for retailers to recover from the loss of sales thanks to the snowstorm. He adds that with next weekend marking New Year’s day, more consumers are likely to be distracted from in-store shopping, also possibly causing a loss in sales.

The silver lining to all of this is that online retailers could see a significant boost in sales thanks to the snowstorm. Home-bound consumers who are still looking for post-holiday deals can access them on retailers online sites or on e-commerce platforms like Amazon or eBay.

And blizzard conditions have proven to help online retailers boost sales. Last year, a snowstorm hit the East Coast of the United States the weekend prior to Christmas (which is always a busy weekend for brick and mortar stores), and online retailers saw a 13 percent boost in sales during that time period.

Of course, consumers who are looking to return items will be forced wait until the snow clears.

Online retailers have seen fairly strong results this holiday shopping season, with total sales up 12 percent to over $28 billion so far. Total sales for the full holiday season are expected to reach $32.4 billion this year, up 11 percent, but this number could be buoyed by snowed in consumers looking to find deals this week.

Photo Credit/Flickr/GWdexter