For Smart Retailers, This Year’s Stocking Is Filled with Record Sales

For Smart Retailers, This Year’s Stocking Is Filled with Record Sales

infographic-holiday-retail-predictionsOnline retailers have a happy holiday shopping season ahead of them — if they can stay on top of this year’s seasonal buying trends.

According to the Adobe Digital Insights 2016 Online Shopping Report, the total number of “billion-dollar” online shopping days is expected to increase from 31 consecutive days last year to 53 in-a-row this holiday season. What’s more, total online sales are forecast to grow 11 percent to $91.6 billion this year.

Adobe’s ability to accurately predict consumer spending trends, within two percent in previous years, comes from insights gleaned from the Adobe Marketing Cloud. The forecast is based on an analysis of 55 million product SKUs and aggregated and anonymous data from more than one trillion visits to 4,500 retail websites – including 80 percent of all transactions that flow through the top 100 U.S. retailers.

“Our data indicates that online shopping during the lucrative holiday season will start earlier and last longer,” says Mickey Mericle, vice president, Marketing and Customer Insights at Adobe. “Faster shipping, ‘click and collect’ and retail promotions starting earlier than ever are contributing to the extended shopping season.”

To make the most of this year’s opportunities, sellers need to be prepared. “Brands must understand how the consumer experience is changing if they want to remain competitive and win in the online marketplace, especially during the holiday season,” says Becky Tasker, managing analyst, Adobe Digital Insights.

For example, an increasing number of shoppers are expected to browse from their mobile devices this year than ever before. That could be both good news and bad news for retailers.

Why? Well for one thing, our data indicates that cost savings is a primary driver of online sales. Price shoppers will find savings of up to 20 percent online. That raises the bar for bricks and mortar stores to develop strategies for converting in-store bargain hunters into buyers, especially if consumers can easily price shop via their mobile device.

Stocking the right mix of merchandise also will help increase the bottom line. Incredibly, our analysis shows that just one percent of a retailer’s product SKUs are expected to account for 74 percent of all online sales.

Moreover, aggregating social listening data on specific products enables us to predict items that will be in demand during the 2016 gift-buying frenzy.

most-talked-about-holiday-gifts-by-social-mentions

We know, for instance, that consumers are particularly interested in tried-and-true gifts, such as Pokémon, Barbie, Lego, Hot Wheels and Frozen toys. There’s also a surge of excitement around VR devices. Finally, consumers are buzzing about the Google Home and Amazon Echo devices, both of which underscore consumer demand for seamless connectivity.

Interestingly enough, this year’s holiday shopping season’s growth rate is slightly lower than ADI’s 2015 prediction. However, the net increase of $9.1B year-over-year is still a tremendous amount. Mobile visit growth is expected to continue to grow as customers increasingly use smartphones to shop around, yet a gap remains in how many purchases actually occur on the same device. Retailers will have to work hard to create a cohesive, cross-device experience that resonates with consumers.

Check out Becky Trasker’s actionable advice for how marketers can make the most of this holiday shopping season and see the infographic below.

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