Retailers are ready for strong sales during holiday season

November 4, 2014

This year's shopping season is expected to show strong retail sales and everyone is preparing for the event.

This year’s shopping season is expected to show strong retail sales and everyone is preparing for the event. 

Positive forecast for retail sales over holiday season
The National Retail Federation, according to Forbes, expects consumer sales of retail products in November and December to increase by 4.1 percent to $616.9 billion. E-commerce will play a significant role in driving the numbers, growing between 8 to 11 percent over the last holiday season, to as much as $105 billion. A CFI Group survey found approximately 30 percent of consumers will spend more than half of their total budgets between November 28 and December 1, according to the news source.  

According to Consumerist, Walmart is discounting approximately 20,000 items four weeks before Black Friday, including electronics, which represent a significant portion of consumer holiday purchases.

Brands will use social media to attract consumers
Increasingly retailers and merchants are using social media targeted advertising to reach consumers. This year will see more of that action, as well as dialogue created on Facebook and Twitter in order to engage customer interest in products. Over the past few years, analytical tools have helped retailers make sense of consumer data and identify trends that help to market products more effectively.

A discussion was published on Twitter recently that points to how social media can drive sales. According to Forbes, data from Crimson Hexagon and The NPD Group indicate that the level at which a  product is discussed on Twitter directly correlates to how much that product will sell. In the last holiday season, conversations about buying TVs on Twitter coincided with higher sales volumes. The same was true for laptop conversations and sales. Retailers and merchants have been advised this year to encourage consumers to discuss their shopping interests on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, through the offering of special deals.

Webroom vs. showroom product browsing 
Another major trend that will be witnessed this holiday season is that many consumers will go to websites to view products and read reviews, but will ultimately finalize their purchases in-store. This is being referred to as “webroom,” and while the trend is not new, consumers will be using their mobile devices for e-commerce more than ever before.

Forbes reported that Deloitte expects 68 percent of consumers will webroom rather than showroom this holiday season and smartphones will be responsible for 72 percent of that. Additionally, smartphones and tablets will be used for actual shopping, 72 percent and 69 percent, respectively, according to the news source.

Security issues not at the forefront of consumer mindsets 
Interestingly, despite the massive credit card theft that occurred earlier this year at Target and Home Depot, consumers are not as worried about security as previously expected. Deloitte noted that while data security is important to 76 percent of consumers, 56 percent will still shop at retailers that experienced data breaches. Willy Leichter, global director of cloud security at Ciphercloud, said that consumers are experiencing breach fatigue, since they have heard so much about security over the past year. 

“Given the number of major breaches in the news this year – Target, Michael’s, Home Depot, iCloud – consumers seem to be getting a bit numb to the latest news,” Leichter said, according to Forbes.

This year’s shopping season will not only be a record year for retail but for e-commerce activity. Retailers like Amazon and Walmart have begun decorating stores and websites, and are rolling out their discounts early to encourage large-scale sales for holiday shoppers. 

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