Showrooming to affect up to $1.7 billion in 2012 holiday retail sales
Framingham, Mass. — IDC Retail Insights on Wednesday released a new survey report, “Business Strategy: At Hand Versus In Hand — Will Consumers Have the Upper Hand in the 2012 Holiday Showroom Showdown?,” which found that 48 million shoppers will “showroom” or use their smartphones in some manner while they shop in stores during the upcoming winter holiday season.
This represents a 134% increase from 2011 when 20.5 million shoppers showroomed. IDC Retail Insights forecasts that the number of showrooming shoppers will grow to 59 million next year, 69 million in 2014, and 78 million in 2015. This year, according to the new research, showrooming behaviors will influence $0.7 to $1.7 billion in holiday retail purchases.
Key highlights of the new report include:
- Big-ticket items, in particular those that consumers can easily evaluate by reading descriptions, specifications, ratings, and reviews, will be the most showroomed items this year;
- 7% to 13% of consumer electronics shoppers will use their smartphones at least once in stores this season; showrooming activities will touch 1.4% of consumer electronic sales.
- Apparel and footwear is the second most heavily showroomed category. Between 4% and 8% of shoppers will showroom this category this year affecting about 1% of its sales;
- 64% think what they’ll learn in the store with their smartphones will have at least as much influence on their decision as what they’ll learn online before coming into the store;
- 56% to 60% of shoppers with their smartphones in-hand say that they will be “more likely” or “much more likely” to buy what they find in the store as they shop this season when assisted by trustworthy knowledgeable store associates; and
- 41% of showrooming shoppers say that they will be “more likely” or “much more likely” to rely on their smartphones when they encounter retailers who offer private or exclusive merchandise.
“The merchandising and customer services strategies that differentiate a retailer and define its value bear on showrooming shoppers’ propensity to rely on their smartphones in stores,” said Greg Girard, program director, IDC Retail Insights. “Private labels or exclusive brands, customer service, and loyalty stand out as the most promising strategies for dealing with showrooming.”
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Sales growth of smaller retailers lag industry
Purchase, N.Y. — A report released Wednesday by MasterCard Advisors, the professional services arm of MasterCard in partnership with Wells Fargo, found that spending at small retailers in October slowed to an increase of 4.2% year over year, down from a 5.8% growth rate in September.
This was the slowest year-over-year growth rate for smaller retailers in 2012, falling below the growth rate of total U.S. retail sales by one percentage point.
The October report also found that when gasoline sales are removed, the year-over-year sales growth rate dipped to 3.6%. Michael McNamara, global solutions leader, MasterCard SpendingPulse, said, “This was the first time the small retailer sales year-over-year growth rate has lagged behind overall retail sales growth since September 2011. However, thanks to the fairly strong performance of smaller retailers for the first nine months of the year, on a year-to-date basis, small retailers continue to outperform overall total retail sales excluding auto.”
On a year-to-date basis, the sales growth rate excluding auto for small retailers is 7.4% from January through October 2012, compared with a 5.6% growth rate for retail overall during the same time period.
Forecast: Black Friday to give retailers holiday boost
Charleston, S.C. — A shopping forecast released Tuesday by America’s Research Group found that 31.8% of U.S. consumers said they will shop Black Friday Weekend in search of big-ticket items. But the biggest boost will be in the five days before Christmas when more Americans than in the last seven years say they will shop.
"52.6% of Americans say they will ‘hibernate’ for much of the shopping season and then step out to shop in the five days before Christmas, which we’re now calling Christmas Friday through Monday,” said Britt Beemer, chairman and CEO of America’s Research Group. “Americans are far more bargain-driven this year — up from 49% last year — and say they will wait for the deepest discounts of the season, which they believe will be offered in the last days before Christmas.”
The report forecasts that Christmas retail sales should rise 1.8% to 2.8% this year, “but that will depend on retailers," said Beemer. "Our research shows that if retailers pull back after Black Friday Weekend and don’t offer bigger discounts than ever before, many Americans will go into hibernation until the last five days before Christmas when retailers are advertising fifty, sixty and seventy percent off," said Beemer. "The impact of store advertising will continue to be huge.”
And, this year, other factors besides finances are impacting consumer spending. Nearly 16% said they had been impacted by Hurricane Sandy; and of those, 37.2% describe their impact as serious, very serious or devastating.
According to the forecast, on Black Friday Americans want far bigger deals, too (44.8% versus 40.6% last year). If they do shop, they are looking for big ticket items (31.8% versus 24.6% last year). Americans also report that they will shop for fewer people than they did last year (shopping for five or less jumped from 13.7% last year to 20.2% this year). 50.3% will shop at off-price/membership clubs up from 47.8% last year; the number-one gift price range is $36-$50 (36.2% up from 26. 2%); credit card usage is down (22.5% versus 24.2% last year); there are more gift cards in the $21-$25 range (21.4% last year versus 27.6% this year); and the types of gifts Americans say they will purchase are mostly small this year (36.8% up from 30.1% last year) — with the trend towards homemade gifts among the most important of the season (27.5% of Americans say they will give homemade gifts).
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