Different types gift packings

Analysis

Holiday retail outlook

Engage customers by embracing these key disruptors

Good news for retailers! While personal income growth may be stubbornly flat, consumers are enthusiastic about the upcoming holiday shopping season, according to Deloitte’s 2015 annual holiday survey. Deloitte anticipates a 3.5 to 4 percent rise in consumer spending compared to last year. Connected consumers will continue to drive more holiday season spending than ever before. Savvy retailers will capitalize on consumers’ omnichannel shopping behaviors as well as their desire to be good to themselves and their families this year. The survey revealed a number of important trends about shoppers this holiday season, including:

  • Approximately 75 percent of surveyed consumers plan to spend the same or more money than they did in 2014.
  • Shoppers anticipate that 75 percent of gift purchases will come from the same retailers as last year.
  • The Internet was the favored shopping venue of more survey participants than any other venue, beating out department stores, outlet stores, and big box electronics retailers.
  • About 44 percent of customers surveyed don’t plan on sticking to a concrete plan and stand to be influenced by deals, offers, and recommendations.

While most marketers have their holiday marketing plans in place, there are still ways to put these findings to work right away. Here are three ideas based on the survey data that you can use to influence shoppers this season. Following that are three others you can take to influence your plans into 2016.

Retail marketers’ to-do list for this holiday season

Beef up your social media presence. Approximately 76 percent of shoppers are active on social media, and half of those users intend on using social media to get gift ideas, find discounts or deals, and get recommendations.

Implement a program to facilitate customer discussion online and incentivize reviewing. About 75 percent of surveyed shoppers said that reviews and recommendations are influential in their shopping decisions, and your organization can help drive those conversations.

Focus on the quality and volume of your email campaigns. About 37 percent of surveyed shoppers say promotions and emails are influential in their buying decisions and more effective than favorable return policies (25 percent), traditional marketing-centric ideas like store-based gimmicks (8 percent), and invite-only events (6 percent).

New year’s resolutions for retail marketers

Align your physical and web properties to perfect your omnichannel experience. Up to 59 percent of surveyed shoppers participate in “showrooming” (research in store, buy online). Conversely, 69 percent participate in “webrooming” (research online, buy in store). Keeping product information, inventory count, and quality marketing collateral within a single platform makes these approaches easier for all your customers.

Get your easy access offerings up to speed–specifically free shipping, easy returns, and price matching. Up to 72 percent of surveyed online consumers plan to utilize free shipping and expect it to be fast (two-day shipping is the threshold for fast, and five or more days is considered slow).

Make it a year-round experience by offering a subscription-based product. While only 6 percent of surveyed shoppers plan to purchase subscription products, it’s a growing sector that gives your organization a recurring revenue stream and introduces your customers to new loyalty-building products.

For 30 years, Deloitte has followed retail trends and their impact on holiday shopping. Read the comprehensive 2015 holiday retail outlook report, full of insights for retailers about how to resonate with consumers and meet them where they are at—figuratively and literally—with regard to their changing holiday shopping behaviors. These pearls of wisdom from our 30th anniversary report may not only improve your approach this holiday season, but also your launch into the New Year.

Published on November 9, 2015.

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