Heavy discounts and post-Black Friday lull create challenges for retailers

Heavy discounts and post-Black Friday lull create challenges for retailers


ecommerce, analytics, retail

The 2016 holiday shopping season has been one for the record books as far as online sales are concerned, with Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales reaching new heights.
But according to The NPD Group, many retailers could struggle to make the entire holiday shopping season a successful one compared to 2015. The firm, which collects and analyzes sales from leading retailers that provide it with weekly point-of-sale data, says that the fifth week of the holiday shopping season “brought the customary post-Black Friday lull, along with deeper discounts and more abundant week-long deals than in the past.”
As NPD’s Chief Industry Analyst, Marshal Cohen, explained, “Bigger discounts mean deeper holes to climb out of to match last year’s sales numbers.”
The NPD Group says that total dollar sales were down 5% this year in fifth week of the holiday shopping season, which includes Cyber Monday. Only one merchandise category, athletic footwear, registered a gain compared to 2015, with dollar sales rising a modest 2%.
All told, total dollar sales are down 3% this year through the first five weeks of the season. That would seem to mirror data from the U.S. Commerce Department, which says retail sales disappointed in November.
The digital divide
The record-breaking Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales figures are evidence of the fact that more and more of consumer purchasing activity is taking place through digital channels. But it’s important to remember that despite the growing importance of their websites and mobile apps, many retailers still operate as multi-channel businesses, so the online sales figures only tell part of the holiday shopping story.
Put simply, online retail is accounting for more of the pie, but the pie isn’t really growing.
While it looks questionable as to whether retailers will be able to turn the 2016 holiday shopping season into a true success, as CNBC has noted, “six of the 10 busiest days still lie ahead” according to retail analytics firm ShopperTrak.
Some analysts predict that this year’s Super Saturday, the last Saturday before Christmas, has the potential to produce more sales than Black Friday, and with cold weather blanketing much of the country, it would not be surprising if many of those sales take place online instead of offline.
That might help online retail set yet another sales record this year, but even if it does, hefty discounting could still make it hard for retailers to catch up no matter where their sales take place.

Al Roberts is a staff writer for ClickZ and SEW

Want to stay on top of the latest search trends?
Get top insights and news from our search experts.

Related reading

In 2017, we’ll see influencer marketing grow up to become a more meaningful and practical marketing tactic.

As the most popular social platform the expectations are high and Facebook’s ambitious plans that keep growing year by year bring out bigger challenges.

Here are three ways that we are already seeing artificial intelligence in action across various sectors, which when applied to ecommerce, have the potential to take customer experience to the next level.

Once the holiday rush is over and sites are no longer on lockdown, its time to focus on the little things adjustments, but together can produce measurable local SEO gains. Here’s how to get started.


Source: Search Engine Watch

Share this post