3 minute read

NRF estimates 4% increase in 2017 holiday sales

The National Retail Federation (NRF) released its annual predictions for retail holiday sales for 2017. Higher than the 2016 predictions at 3.6 %, the world’s largest retail trade association measures in-store and online sales for the holiday season in the US and 45 countries, using economic models with indicators like personal income, consumer credit and previous sales during the year. This year, the NRF expects a 4% growth from $655.8 billion to $682 billion dollars in sales.

This year, holiday sales should account for 19 to 30% of a brand’s yearly gross sales, especially in jewelry and electronics sales. Since 2009 — the height of the US economic crisis — retail sales have steadily grown during the holidays by more than 1800%, which means that brands are reaching a pivotal point to convert potential customers to sale.  As an added bonus, there are 32 days between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Christmas falls this year on a Monday rather than Sunday, which means consumers have an additional, full weekend to finish up shopping.

Online shopping last year grew 11% to $91.7 billion dollars, making Cyber Monday the largest online selling day in all of history! The easier that brands make it for shoppers to plan, browse and shop across any device will gain the most of this season’s holiday sales.

Retail contributes $2.6 trillion to annual GDP in the United States, and is a stellar indicator of economic health. Last year’s results by the NRF fell just shy of actual sales reported in January. This means brands should expect a larger growth %age than four % that will likely be a larger chunk that 19-30% of yearly sales.

Brands are working to beat the personalization game that consumers demand, especially during holiday shopping periods. There are a few things brands can do ahead of the holiday that can set marketers up for success.

Align promotions and re-engage distracted shoppers 

In a diverse shopping environment, consumers are switching back and forth between online browsing and in-store purchases. Ninety-five percent of millennials in our survey also admitted that they are doing other things while they shop. Before the holiday rush, align your online and offline promotions and set them up ahead of time to trigger in real-time. These types of instant interactions prove time and time again to help brands through the frenzy while increasing revenue.

Extend promotions past Cyber Monday 

Mop up those shoppers who are buying past the Cyber Monday shopping season with triggered email campaigns. The shopping season becomes longer and longer as consumers keep their eyes out for sales. An upscale department brand using SmarterHQ introduced a targeted sale promotion for Cyber Monday and experienced the highest last click revenue they’d ever seen. These “mop-up” campaigns can drive up to $5 per email, and help you get rid of some of that overstock.

Give incentives for spending more

Shoppers love free shipping, but we know you can’t offer every shopper this perk. However, using free shipping as a value add for consumers at a certain price point. Using modals and lightboxes, or even a reminder during initial checkout with messages like, “You’re only $20 dollars away from free one-day shipping!” can convince a shopper to buy more, and the instant gratification of one-day shipping beats Amazon and keeps them on your branded site to purchase. This bonus can also be used in browse or cart abandonment emails above a cost threshold that prompts customers to take the jump and checkout.

Broaden ads and social

Now is the time to segment your audiences so you can accurately target them on social channels during the holiday season. Recent research from Adobe found that purchases derived from social media increase after 11 p.m., indicating impulsive shopping. Our millennial survey also discovered 61% of this generation is researching online, and will make purchases on impulse or when they find a great bargain. Finally, span out the timeframe of ads; don’t just release them between nine to five. You never know when distracted shoppers are viewing your messaging.

Brands who use customer data will have a far easier holiday season, and as the tides of the retail industry turn, behavioral marketing is a necessity to work through the buckets and buckets of data available. Further, behavioral marketing platforms equip marketers to interact with customers in real-time. With our proprietary machine learning platform, it’s never been easier or more efficient to master the holiday. Stay tuned for our post on holiday sales results!