The holiday season will be here before you know it. So what does Santa have in store for retailers for Holiday 2017?
According to the Retail TouchPoints 2017 Holiday Guide, holiday predictions are always challenging. And they are particularly so this year, with an uncertain political climate affecting everything from healthcare to trade policies.
The report notes that “Year after year, have to adapt to a changing calendar to maximize holiday sales. For example, December 2017 includes four Saturdays before Christmas Eve, a configuration that hasn’t occurred since 2012.” This could be a boon for brick-and-mortar retailers.
As if retailers need to be reminded, Alliance Data’s 2017 Retail Outlook opens with this sobering statistic: Retailers earn 40% or more from their revenue during the holiday season. That’s why the pressure is on for retailers to make their numbers.
The National Retail Federation’s (NRF) 2017 Holiday Planning Playbook is based on its 2017 Holiday Shopping Behavior Survey, designed to gauge consumer behavior and shopping trends related to the winter holidays. The survey polled 2,040 consumers.
The survey found that 47 percent of shoppers said they browsed physical stores to find the perfect gift idea. It also revealed that shoppers still make many impulse buys during the holidays. Approximately seven in 10 Millennial (66%) and Generation Z (71%) shoppers said they made more impulsive purchases; 68 percent of Hispanics, 54 percent of men and 52 percent of those with household incomes below $35,000 said they did so as well.
The NRF advises that, with half of all consumers still relying on in-store inspiration, retailers should consider ways to blend digital and in-store experiences to guide shoppers throughout the holiday season.
The Retail Coach offers another look toward the future in its 2017 Retail Outlook. Retail strategist C. Kelly Cofer points to these basic factors as impacting retailer demand and expansion in 2017: the economy, ecommerce, Trump, crime and Millennials. Cofer also provides a word of warning to small retailers: “Don’t sacrifice your independent retail businesses while chasing the big-boxes.”
Cofer’s report quotes Bloomberg’s Shannon Pettypiece: “Nothing has changed in the dynamic going into 2017 from what we were in 2016, where bricks-and-mortar retail is struggling. There is a shift online. Sure, a lot of the bulk of retail spending is still in stores, but the shift, the trend is still going to online, and the brick-and-mortar retailers really haven’t found a way to capitalize on that in the face of the competition from Amazon.”
The NRF concludes its survey with this caveat: “Retailers will also have to enter the 2017 holiday season with their best foot forward as customer reviews and feedback are having more impact in influencing where consumers shop and what they buy.”