Report: Retail executives to drive sales with social media

New York City -- The third annual Retail Finance Outlook released Tuesday by CIT Group found that 80% of retail executives expect their holiday sales to increase or remain the same as last year. And they are eying social media as a means to drive sales.

Among the notable shopping days this holiday season, more than one-third of executives expect Black Friday sales to increase this year; more than a quarter expect Cyber Monday sales to be up and nearly a quarter expect Super Saturday sales to increase.

In addition, sensing that price-conscious consumers will again be on the look-out for bargains, 37% predict an increase in last-minute shopping, while 38% expect post-Christmas shopping days to be stronger.

The study found that retailers hope to attract consumers through social media. Nearly 60% of executives are shifting marketing dollars away from old media toward new media, such as social media campaigns. As part of that shift, 68% report increases in marketing and deals through social media channels, including Facebook and Twitter. In addition, 63% report that their web sales are growing (28%) or growing faster than other channels (35%). 

“In what has been an otherwise mixed season thus far, retailers are doing whatever they can to maximize their holiday sales season,” said Burt Feinberg, group head of CIT Commercial & Industrial. “This preparation includes shifting marketing dollars away from old media toward new media to get the consumer in the door or on their website.”

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