Brand Keys: Holidays sales to grow 4%; apparel/accessories top categories

New York -- Retail sales this holiday season will grow about 4%, according to a survey by brand loyalty and customer engagement consultancy Brand Keys.

In the 2014 Brand Keys Holiday Shopping survey, 54% of consumers indicated they were going to start holiday shopping in November, “a trend we’ve commented upon for a number of years,” said Brand Keys founder and president Robert Passikoff.

Only 25% of consumers--10% fewer than in 2013--indicated they were going to wait until Black Friday, Nov. 28.

Amazon and Walmart kicked off their Christmas discounts on Saturday, Nov. 1st--27 days before the traditional Black Friday, which had long been regarded as the traditional start of the holiday shopping season. Amazon started its “Black Friday” Saturday with two daily deals on holiday merchandise that will run through Dec. 22.

Virtually all consumers interviewed indicated they will buy holiday gifts online again this year (98%). But even in light of the mobile movement, bricks-and-mortar retailers still rank high on consumers’ list of places they intend to shop:

Store Type 2014 % change from 2013

Discount Department Stores 96% +2

Traditional Department Stores 78% +2

Specialty & Apparel Stores 40% - 5

Catalogues (25%), are down again from last year by 50%, “but apparently if a consumer can pull it up on a site on a mobile device, they feel that hard-copy has become superfluous,” noted Passikoff.


Gift cards have become as universal as greetings cards, with nearly everyone indicating they’ll buy at least one this year (95%).

All other categories remain relatively unchanged from 2013. “Apps and downloads have replaced CDs, DVDs, and printed books,” said Passikoff.

Consumers indicated the following categories where money was going to be spent:

Clothing and accessories: 78%

Electronics/phones/computer: 51%

Personal care products/spa: 33%

Jewelry: 20%

Food and wine: 20%

Home décor: 7%

Value is paramount for all platforms and consumer expectations regarding outreach and convenience, particularly for mobile, and the shopping experience for bricks-and-mortar retail, are all up again, according to Passikoff.

“Retailers that can integrate the store experience with their mobile outreach will likely find it to be a winning combination,” said Passikoff. “Just much earlier this year.”