Love it or hate it, Black Friday is all about the deals. Consumers will storm stores as soon as doors open -- as early as Thursday morning, this year -- in order to snag must-have gifts at rock-bottom prices. And many will spend a significant portion of their holiday budgets, projected to be $750 for the average consumer. The National Retail Federation expects overall holiday sales will increase 4.1% to $586.1 billion.
Retailers perceived to have the best values will come out on top. This year, Amazon and Target continue to reign in that category, according to YouGov BrandIndex. Amazon took the No. 1 slot, while Target took the No. 2 slot for the second year in a row. Target scored points by being the first retailer to air holiday ads this year, despite some complaints it was kicking off the holiday too early. The ad, featuring its mascot Bullseye and airing in mid-October, helped it notch one of the biggest gains in value perception this year.
Old Navy is another big winner, rising from No. 9 to No. 6 in value perception. The retailer's marketing has been choppy in recent years, and it's been without a chief marketer for nearly 18 months. But a recent series of ads meant to appeal to its target customer with 1990s-era TV characters, such as "Blossom" and the cast of "90210," have been a hit. Old Navy, along with Gap Inc. siblings Banana Republic and Gap, gained the most in value perception year over year, though the latter two still rank outside of the top 10.
JC Penney, however, continues to fall from grace. The retailer, in the midst of a major reinvention in which it eschews coupons, fell from No. 3 to No. 5. New holiday ads seek to reiterate value, however, calling out specific prices for a variety of seasonal items and gifts.
Best Buy and Sears have also taken a hit when it comes to value perception. The electronics giant has suffered a series of management changes in the last year and is struggling to attract customers shifting electronics purchases to retailers such as Amazon, Target and Walmart. Sears, meanwhile, has been heavily promoting its layaway program, though that doesn't seem to have changed consumers' minds about the chain.
Walmart's layaway efforts are resonating, however. The retail giant jumped from No. 6 to No. 3 in value perception. Its layaway program kicked off Sept. 16, adding categories such as small home appliances and sporting goods.