The big season of feasts, festivities, and shopping has officially commenced. Whether the shopping is done at malls, with local businesses, or online, the way consumers act during this time has shifted significantly from where it was 10 years ago. Digital transformation and a greater emphasis on value-based shopping continue to drive new consumer behaviors. The brands that will win during the 2018 holidays will be leaders with most, if not all, of these trends. Here are 5 trends in retail that we can expect to see over the holiday shopping season:
1. The products consumers want, along with the values they have.
You can buy a hat with Love Your Melon and support childhood cancer. Or, consider supporting people returning from incarceration and entering the workforce by purchasing products from beelove. Research has shown that 87% of Americans will purchase a product because a company advocated for an issue they cared about. With new direct-to-consumer brands popping up all over, larger department stores and brands will need to amplify the presence of their missions in order to stay competitive.
2. Print enjoys a renaissance.
I get so many emails during the holiday season that it is hard to keep up. Holiday catalogs, on the other hand, I keep and glance through when I’m ready to do some serious online shopping. The level of customization and personalization is minimal, but some say that a “catalog in your mailbox actually is a more personal touch than an email today.” Think this is true? As an email marketer, I have mixed feelings. As a consumer, I can’t help but agree there’s still a great place for print.
3. Black Friday declines in importance.
There are still people who will line up outside of a store overnight to get the best deals. That shopping behavior is declining, however, thanks to the shift from brick-and-mortar to online. If you’re a retail employee, this is potentially good news—as the list of retailers closed on Thanksgiving continues to grow. In 2017, the number of people visiting actual stores on Black Friday declined by 4.5%. In 2018, our bet is that in-store sales will continue this downward trend. The most interesting detail in all of this is that Millennials are more likely to shop in-store than their Gen X or Baby Boomer counterparts.
4. [Not a] spoiler alert: online shopping is king.
Alright, so it doesn’t require hours of industry analysis to come to this conclusion. If people are starting to increase their spending and in-store sales are declining, then we all know where their money is going. Hopefully, digital strategies are in check. Even if they feel strong about their positioning the rest of the year, 86% of retailers feel more pressure to compete with Amazon during the holiday season than other times of the year. Retailers have spent months investing in their mobile and social efforts to pull consumers in and convert the purchase.
To curb the appeal of staying at home and shopping in your pajamas, retailers are offering new services and conveniences to get their customers in and near the stores. Target’s drive-up feature allows you to purchase in-app, drive up to the store, and drive away with your purchase—all without leaving your car. Additionally, Macy’s rolled out free in-store pick-up and is offering additional savings on the customer’s next in-store purchase.
5. The season for giving….to yourself.
Recently, a friend told me she always buys herself one large reward at the end of the year. Another friend said she was shopping for new clothes because of the good deals available. The bulk of the spend is still for other people, but in 2017 nearly one-quarter of Americans said they were buying themselves gifts over the holidays. With increased consumer confidence and optimism about the economy and household finances, there’s likely a little more in that budget for the self-gifting you’ve always wanted to do.
Well, I need to get back to my online shopping now. Just don’t tell my boss. Enjoy this holiday season.