Family shopping

Get Ahead of Holiday Retail Trends

Have you noticed your favorite stores already have their holiday displays up? According to the National Retail Federation, more than half of Americans have started their holiday shopping research – if not purchasing – by now. This statistic and other retail trends are examined in NRF’s 2017 Holiday Planning Playbook, compiled from a survey of 2,000 holiday shoppers who shared their expectations and habits going into the 2017 holiday season.

Among the report’s highlights:

  • Retail owners and lessees will be glad to know that brick-and-mortar stores aren’t being abandoned. “NRF’s survey found that 47 percent of shoppers said they browsed physical stores to find the perfect gift idea … Much of consumers’ discovery and inspiration is still happening in the store.” While online shopping remains a convenient, cost-effective and increasingly quick option, continued focus on enhancing the in-store experience is paying off. “There are things customers can’t experience when having products delivered,” the report notes.
  • The wish list you sent to Santa as a kid is coming back in a big way. “No longer reserved for weddings and new babies, registries and wish lists are becoming a critical component of the holiday shopping experience.” Almost two-thirds of survey respondents said they’d use these tools.
  • The “Yelp effect” is shaping shoppers’ decision making. “Consumers increasingly consider reviews a critical component of the shopping process,” NRF states. Just about all of the shoppers surveyed say they read reviews, though a negative review isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker: “A study from Northwestern University’s Spiegel Digital and Database Research Center found that a fair number of negative reviews can establish trust in the brand. It found that the likelihood of a purchase peaked with an average star rating between 4.2 and 4.5 percent, then lessened closer to 5 stars.”
  • Instead of online OR in-store, why not both? Shoppers are demanding more delivery and fulfillment options, including the ability to buy online and pick up in-store. The omnichannel approach has had success for companies like Sephora that are leveraging their digital capabilities to augment their in-store experience. Drawing customers in to stores also has the added benefit of tempting the 7-in-10 millennial and Generation Z shoppers who said they make more impulse purchases over the holidays.

This is part 1 of a 3-part series on 2017 holiday retail trends (see part 2 and part 3). Subscribe to Market Share so you don’t miss the next post in this series.

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