Holiday Shopping Season 2014 Predictions
It’s safe to say that 2014 has been a roller coaster year. Periods of economic uncertainty, job growth, increases in disposable income, and the occasional winter storm led to many ups and downs throughout the year. Because of this volatility the 2014 holiday shopping season is a little more crucial for retailers than normal, as many look to make up for the lulls that have plagued 2014 so far. Thankfully, the predictions that have been rolling in look very positive. Let’s take a look at some of the numbers:
Total Holiday Spending
The National Retail Federation has total holiday sales increasing by 4.1% this year, to $616.9 billion. Many other organizations are floating around this number as well with Brand Keys and the International Council of Shopping Centers calling for a 4% increase, while eMarketer is a little more optimistic at 5%. If the NRF’s figures hold true it would be the first time since 2011 that holiday sales figures would rise by more than 4%. These optimistic numbers do come with some caution, though. The NRF notes that shoppers polled are still uncertain about the economic outlook, meaning one speed bump during the holiday season could greatly affect the outcome.
Expected Online Sales
Market research firm eMarketer has ecommerce sales for the holiday season increasing by 16.6%. Shop.org has been more conservative with their outlook, expecting an online sales growth of between 8% and 11%. Shop.org is staying on par with last year’s actual growth of 8.6%, however I’m more inclined to lean towards eMarketer’s prediction. If 2014 has shown us anything, it’s that a majority of consumers now feel comfortable making online purchases. Combine this comfort with the incredible rise of mobile commerce over the last nine months, and you have a formula for online sales to exceed Shop.org’s expectations.
According to Accenture, 66% of consumers plan on shopping on Black Friday this year. This would mark a massive shift in the trend set last year. 2013 saw Black Friday’s popularity wane as shoppers spread their spending throughout the season, leading many I the industry – including myself – to label Black Friday as just another shopping day. However, if this prediction holds true, then Black Friday would re-cement itself as the most popular shopping day of the year. Along with Black Friday, Accenture is expecting 45% of consumers to shop on Thanksgiving this year. About half of this group (47%) is expected to shop online so that they don’t have to leave their families.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: gift cards are king. Brand Keys is expecting 95% of all shoppers to purchase at least one gift card this season. While the NRF’s number isn’t quite as high, they also have gift cards listed as the most popular gift. Both organizations also have clothing as the second most popular gift. The NRF has video games, DVDs/CDs, and books taking the third spot, while Brand Keys have electronics in third. As for the kiddies, no one toy seems to be running away with popularity, but I think it’s a safe bet to assume that Minecraft and Frozen toys will be difficult to keep on the shelves.
Our next post in the series will analyze some of the results from Black Friday Weekend and Cyber Monday. In the meantime, you can check out other posts in the 2014 Holiday Shopping Series here: Early Outlook, Key Dates, Trends that Took Off, LP Tips, Shopping Experience, Merchandising, Analysis