New York -- Less than 30% of middle-market retailers have websites optimized for mobile purchases, according to a national survey of C-suite executives by GE Capital. Currently, middle market retailers conduct 16% of their transactions online and about half expect the proportion of online transactions to increase in the next 12 months. (GE identifies middle-market retailers as ranging from $10 million to $1 billion in annual sales).
The ability to continue to grow revenue and the cost of doing business are the key challenges in the retail sector and continue to drive margin pressure, according to the survey. The cost of health care also ranked as a top challenge.
In other key findings:
• About half (52%) of the surveyed retailers expect industry expansion and one-third expect increases in capital expenditures in the coming year.
• The largest proportion of retailer’s advertising budgets (36%) is allocated to print, while one-quarter is spent on Internet advertising. The remainder is split between television, radio and other advertising.
• Nearly half (43%) of retail firms will add workers. Employment in the sector is expected to grow an average 3.6% year-over-year.
• Thirty-nine percent of retail businesses will consider additional financing for equipment and one-quarter will consider financing for company cars or trucks in the next 12 months.
• Forty-five percent of retailers in the middle market provide matching discounts based on competitors’ prices.
• Nearly two-thirds of middle market retail firms are privately held corporations.