'Tis the season to be spending, and when shoppers are feeling comfort and joy about their economic circumstances, brands and retailers tend to benefit. To this end, let’s look at a few interesting insights from the National Retail Federation on how this holiday shopping season is shaping up for retailers nationwide.
- U.S. retail sales, including e-commerce and mail order, are expected to reach $655.8 billion for November and December, up 3.6% from 2015.
- That would mark the 14th year of growth for holiday sales in the past 15 – the only exception being 2008, as the economy fell into a deep recession.
- Despite certain predictions that brick and mortar stores are on the way out, 82.2% of expected 2016 holiday sales will take place in-store. But e-commerce is indeed coming on as the NRF expects combined online and mail order sales to make up 17.8% of holiday expenditures, with e-commerce growing 7% to 10% over 2015.
- The retail sectors that are most dependent on holiday sales, based on 2015 results, are jewelry stores (27.4% of annual revenues are crammed into the two months); department stores (24.2%), sporting goods/hobby/books/music (23.2%); and discount department stores (23%).
- Other categories doing 20% or more of their annual business during the two holiday months are electronics/appliance stores, clothing stores, and shoe stores.
- e-commerce and mail orders are expected to reap 22.5% of their annual sales during November and December.
- As a benchmark, note that November and December account for only 16.3% of the year’s 362 shopping days – leaving out Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.
- The NRF found that the average shopper expects to spend $935.58 on holiday purchases this year – a 1.8% downtick from last year’s record of $952.58. Where will those shopping dollars go?
Non-gift purchases driven by holiday discounts: 14.96%
Candy and food: 11.18%
Greeting cards and postage: 2.93%
Flowers and potted plants: 2.18%
- Those who buy gifts also receive them – and this year’s most preferred items are gift cards, favored by 61% of the NRF’s respondents; clothing/clothing accessories, 51%; and entertainment content (books, CDs, DVDs, videos and video games), 40%.
The story is not just in the numbers. Holiday shoppers aren’t simply looking to buy; they’re looking to buy for people they care about. This affords marketers and researchers a special opportunity to gain insights into consumers’ deepest emotions about brands, products, and the shopping experience. Research, in particular, can benefit by looking at the holidays not as a time to wind things down, but as an opportunity to gain insights when shoppers are most engaged in the shopping experience.
An ideal way to get an immediate jump on holiday consumer research opportunities is with MFourDIY ™ -- the nation's only all-mobile, DIY survey-building platform. You can program and field a survey in less than an hour, allowing you to start reaping insights in time for Black Friday, and then on through the holiday season.
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