Survey: Retailers cautiously optimistic for 2013 holiday

San Jose, Calif. -- Retailers are cautiously optimistic about the 2013 holiday season, with 60% forecasting revenue growth in excess of 10%, in line with industry forecasts, according to a survey by Baynote, a provider of personalized customer experience solutions.

Conducted in partnership with the e-tailing group, Baynote’s inaugural 2013 Holiday Predictions Survey found that retailers expect mobile to play an increased role in driving sales with minimal contributions from social media. The study surveyed 77 U.S. retailers with annual revenue ranging from less than $20 million to more than $5 billion.

Among its key findings:

  • Thirty-eight percent of respondents project an 11 to 20% year-over-year increase in sales, with 22% predicting an increase of 21% or more.
  • The majority expect a slow start to the season with increased momentum throughout late November and December.
  • Respondents predict that online will continue to steal market share from retail stores as the season progresses, but mobile's influence will drive renewed store interest for omni-channel retailers.
  • Fifty-three percent of respondents expect mobile transactions to account for a significant part of holiday revenue.
  • Thirty-eight percent believe mobile will drive renewed in-store interest that will lead to increased revenue.
  • Mobile's momentum heading into the holiday season is in stark contrast to social media, which 84% of respondents see as having little or no impact on sales.
  • Retailers plan to offer promotions, such as flash sales, buy-one-get-one free offers and free shipping, at selective times throughout the holiday season.
  • Thirty percent of retailers will begin promotions prior to Oct. 1; over 40% of retailers will wait until early November.
  • Forty-six percent of retailers continue to make significant investments in SEO and SEM technology.
  • Nearly all retailers are investing in enhanced home, category and landing pages while 77% invest in enhanced site search capabilities.
  • Eighty-one percent of retailers have dedicated resources to upgrade e-commerce platforms in anticipation of the season.

"By using mobile as a tool to drive discovery, in-store purchases and overall customer experience, retailers will increase customer connectivity and be able to provide information and incentives that will encourage customers to complete transactions and engage with the brand post-sale." said Dan Darnell, VP of marketing and product, Baynote.

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