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Trending Toward 2015
Today is Black Friday; this hallowed day is setting the tone for holiday sales predictions that will lead into economic forecasts for 2015. If you’re reading this post, maybe you’re taking a break from the holiday shopping frenzy or are avoiding it all together. Whatever the reason, welcome.
2014 Holiday Sales Predictions
According to the National Retail Federation, there’s call for optimism. In an October press release they “expect sales in November and December (excluding autos, gas and restaurant sales) to increase a healthy 4.1 percent to $616.9 billion.” Shop.org uses another forecasting model (using consumer credit, disposable personal income and previous retail sales data). Their holiday shopping predictions are even more optimistic — 8 to 11% over 2013. Using Digital Analytics Benchmark and Quarterly Retail Forecast data, IBM paints an even rosier picture — an increase of 15% during the heavy 5-day shopping period between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday.
Here’s a quick overview of what these experts are saying:
- Household budgets have limits; consumers to continue to be price sensitive.
- Confidence in the economy has been shaky this year. Yet gains in housing, the job market and retail sales bode well.
- Seasonal employment is up 14% from last year. Many are hoping that these positions will turn into full-time or permanent work.
- To get the best of both worlds, some consumers will shop online and then get instant gratification with retail store pickup.
- Aggressive cyber deals and free shipping will lure more people away from brick-and-mortar stores.
- Mobile browsing will spike during the Thanksgiving-to-Cyber-Monday time period.
- The holiday shopping season started earlier than ever. Actually this is not really a holiday shopping prediction as we’ve already seen decorations in stores before Halloween. Question is how soon can retailers put up Christmas trees and pipe in holiday music… just after 4th of July… before consumers revolt?
What’s In Store for the New Year
In early November Bloomberg BusinessWeek published their 2015 predictions: “better than 2014 but not by much.” Kiplinger estimates that GDP (Gross Domestic Product) to increase by 3% in 2015. While The Jerome Levy Forecasting Center worries about another economic bubble.
As you can see there’s no shortage of opinions. Each industry has its unique factors that affect sales — both online and offline. Our advice? Businesses need to really pay attention to their customers’ experience across all screens. The mobile revolution is underway. Study your Google Analytics data and be mindful of your website’s user experience across all device types (including wearable tech).
What are your 2014 holiday shopping predictions?