Most retailers anticipate solid online sales growth this holiday season, according to a new survey by e-commerce consultancy The E-tailing Group Inc. and personalization firm Baynote Inc. The inaugural 2013 Holiday Predictions Survey reveals that 60 percent of retailers expect more than 10 percent growth in holiday revenue this year. Retailers expect mobile to play an increased role in driving sales.
Specifically, the survey found that:
- 38 percent of respondents project an 11 to 20 percent year-over-year increase in sales, with 22 percent predicting an increase of 21 percent or more.
- The majority expects 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, but mobile’s influence will drive renewed store interest for omni-channel retailers.
- 53 percent of respondents expect mobile transactions to account for a significant part of holiday revenue.
- 38 percent believe mobile will drive renewed in-store interest that will lead to increased revenue.
- 84 percent of respondents say social media will have little or no impact on sales.
“The survey demonstrates that retailers are expecting to benefit from mobile investments made in the weeks and months leading up to the holiday season,” according to Dan Darnell, VP of marketing and product, Baynote. “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.”
Many retailers plan to offer strategically timed promotions. The survey found that:
- 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.
- 30 percent of retailers will begin promotions prior to October 1; over 40 percent of retailers will wait until early November.
Focus on consumer experience is driving investment in SEO/SEM and eCommerce platforms, and 46 percent of retailers continue to make significant investments in this technology. Nearly all retailers are investing in enhanced home, category and landing pages, while 77 percent invest in enhanced site search capabilities. Notably, 81 percent of retailers have dedicated resources to upgrade eCommerce platforms in anticipation of the season.
“Retailers are serious about customer experience this year,” Darnell noted. “The data shows retailers recognize that next-generation eCommerce platforms with capabilities to drive a truly personalized and relevant experience will empower merchandisers to achieve increased engagement, revenue and ultimately lifetime value from improved relationships with customers.”