Retailers worldwide are preparing for the most profitable time of the year, striving to make this holiday season the most lucrative yet. As always, a number of new trends are impacting the ways customers approach holiday shopping, and retailers must be on top of these developments to gain an edge.
With a better understanding of these behaviors, brands will be able to capitalize on the huge opportunities that lie ahead in the next 6 weeks. To help brands optimize their holiday campaigns and maximize returns, here's a look at 11 retail stats that every marketer needs to know.
1. Rising sales
There's no questioning the impact of the holiday rush, as RetailNext predicts a 2.8 percent rise in sales in the United States this season. While this uptick is not the largest ever, it still proves that shoppers are willing to spend, and brands must make the most of the opportunities in front of them.
2. Gift planning
More shoppers are thinking ahead and purchasing gifts early this year, according to Ipsos. With 48 percent of shoppers looking to complete most of their shopping by Cyber Monday, November 30. This means that launching holiday marketing and advertising efforts early will pay off.
3. In-store aversion
Retail storefronts may be decorated for the holidays, but fewer shoppers are lining up to buy gifts in brick-and-mortar establishments, according to Retail Touch Points. Foot traffic in retail stores will drop by over 8 percent this holiday season, solidifying the importance of a strong digital customer experience.
4. Research heavy
The Web is playing a primary role in helping shoppers research and discover their purchases. Google revealed that 78 percent of consumers used the Internet during the holidays to do research, while less than a third (29 percent) are turning to friends or colleagues for gift recommendations.
5. Mobile money
In 2015, shoppers are more willing than ever to conduct research and make purchases from their mobile devices. According to eMarketer an impressive 60 percent of respondents intended to increase mobile holiday buying activity, making a quality mobile experience an essential priority for brands.
6. Wavering loyalty
The concept of brand loyalty remains strong during the year, but over half of holiday shoppers are willing to buy from a different retailer in search of something new, according to Ipsos. This shows that brands can win business from competitors if they develop and improve the customer experience.
7. Video influence
Multimedia marketing is a powerful trend in retail, and as AdWeek pointed out, an astounding 80 percent of holiday shoppers watch video reviews to make gift decisions. Brands should not hesitate to invest in these types of channels to target a bigger audience.
8. Smartphone strategies
As research from GPShopper and comScore shows, consumers are utilizing their smartphones in a number of distinct ways. For instance, 35 percent of mobile users are creating shopping lists, while 46 percent are comparing prices across stores. For brands to stand out this holiday season it is essential to create mobile experiences that align with customer intentions, needs and expectations.
9. Aggressive ads
Advertising tends to ramp up during the holiday season, especially in the digital arena. InternetRetailer found that by October 3, advertisers had already boosted their spend on Black Friday keywords by 324 percent. Therefore, with more money and competition swirling around, it is more important than ever to make sure your campaigns are targeted, relevant and personalized to the needs of your visitors.
10. Perk power
Consumers have come to expect a wealth of holiday promotions from their favorite brands, especially the millennial generation. Apparel Magazine found that 75 percent members of Gen Y would pay extra to enjoy perks during the holiday season.
11. Cohesive experience
Speaking of millennials, a disjointed customer experience is enough to turn away 68 percent of 15 to 35 year olds, as found in an Accenture study. Companies that can create a streamlined set of marketing, research and shopping tools will surely enjoy bigger returns this holiday season.
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