Did retailers shine or go dark on the rare solar eclipse sales opportunity?
Those who were around in the eighties may remember the song “The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades” by Timbuk 3. It’s a lyric that could speak to retailers who were forward-looking enough to stock up on special glasses required to view the first total solar eclipse to be seen in the continental U.S. since 1979.
The impending astrological event, which will take place on Aug. 21 when the moon will move between the sun and the Earth, has proven to be a gift, of sorts, for retailers that have seen heavy demand for solar eclipse glasses.
According to Slice Intelligence, online sales of eclipse glasses have grown at a rate of 52 percent week-over-week since summer began. Forty-eight percent of all eclipse glasses were sold in the first 10 days of August, and sales have not yet leveled off.
Sales of the glasses run across all demographics, with Generation X, the group most likely to have kids, accounting for 40 percent of all sales to date. Next come Baby Boomers at 32 percent and then Millennials at 23 percent.
Women, according to data derived by transactions from Slice’s panel of five million online shoppers, represent 56 percent of those purchasing eclipse glasses. The average price for the special spectacles is around $20, although prices have fallen since glasses first went on sale when summer began. This month, the average price of glasses has fallen to $15. The highest per capita spending on glasses has been in South Carolina and Oregon, the first and last states to view the eclipse.
Finding eclipse glasses with just a few days to go has become more difficult as local stores in some markets run out-of-stock. In Tallahassee, FL, for example, local Home Depot, Lowe’s and Walmart stores are all sold out.
In the past week, Amazon.com issued a recall of eclipse glasses sold on the site when the company was unable to confirm those sold met international safety standards. Viewing a solar eclipse without the proper glasses could result in vision loss.
- Eclipse glasses sales follow the path of totality – Slice Intelligence
- Solar crisis: Eclipse-approved eyewear sold out in local stores – Tallahassee Democrat
- Amazon recalls potentially hazard solar eclipse glasses – PBS NewsHour
- Total solar eclipse 2017: What is it and when will it happen? – ABC News
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Were retailers prepared for the consumer demand for solar eclipse glasses? In what other ways might retailers leverage the astrological event for their own short-term benefit?