19 Sep RetailNext Forecasts 3.2 Percent Holiday Growth For Retail
RetailNext Inc. predicted a 3.2 percent year-over-year lift in sales at retail over the November through December holiday period, driven in part by a 14.9 percent increase in sales through digital channels.
Based on current retail trends and broader macro-economic data, RetailNext’s forecast for U.S. retail stores from November to December during holiday 2016 includes the following highlights:
- There will be a 3.2 percent increase in overall sales year over year for the U.S. retail sector (excluding automobiles and petroleum), with higher margins than recent holiday seasons.
- Digital sales will increase 14.9 percent year over year.
- Seasonal top performers will come from women’s fashion and jewelry.
- Wearable technologies will be significant in overall holiday shopping, either in the clothing/accessories category or in its traditional place within consumer electronics.
- A slower growth rate of 1.9 percent is forecasted for general merchandise and specialty store segments.
- Digital sales will grow from 14.4 percent to 16 percent of total retail sales.
- Brick-and-mortar store traffic is projected to decline 11 percent in November and 5 percent in December as compared to 2015.
- Strong selling metrics will minimize the impact of lower traffic, with conversion increasing 0.5 percent in December, contributing to a 6.5 percent lift in sales per shopper.
“Shoppers continue to adopt cross-channel shopping journeys, and by doing so they require retailers to seamlessly present branded experiences across all shopping touchpoints, both online and in-store,” said Shelley E. Kohan, vice president of retail consulting at RetailNext. “While Black Friday, Super Saturday and Cyber-Monday will continue their starring roles, retailers who reimagine Thanksgiving as a month-long event culminating with the holiday weekend will start the season strong, and those retailers nimble and agile enough to act in December on lessons learned in November will win the season.”
Impact of 2016 election
While the uncertainty of the upcoming presidential election has some markets nervous, a great many economic indicators are trending positively, including oil prices, interest rates, unemployment and inflation.
“There will be slight degrees of variability in early November due to the elections,” said Kohan, “but any residual angst from Election 2016 will likely be well over by Thanksgiving. As compared to 2015, there are two additional shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and when coupled with generally positive economic indicators, I look for the overall industry to close the year relatively strong.”
She added, “Retailers will be emphasizing initiatives around the shopping experience, keenly stressing the easing of pain points experienced by shoppers in their journeys. In addition to ensuring product availability, price matching and pricing transparency will rise to the forefront, along with providing the necessary training to allow sales associates to close the knowledge gap where shoppers frequently know more about the brand and its products and services than associates do.”