ThinkNow Retail™ Explores How The Shift To Online Will Impact Holiday Sales

September 12, 2017 Author: Mario X. Carrasco

Innovations In Technology Expected To Ignite A Boon For Retailers This Holiday Season

On the heels of startling news of declining in-store sales earlier this year by popular brands and an overall sluggish retail environment, new research reveals that the current situation may not be as dire as it seems. Now in its fifth year, ThinkNow Retail™ in partnership with JElena Group, suggests that the adoption of mobile shopping among the Total Market, especially Hispanic consumers, has changed the dynamic of the consumer shopping experience, but not consumers desire to shop. And we’ll see that theory play out this holiday shopping season.

Online retailers like Amazon have made it all too easy for consumers to shop on the go or at home, without the hassle of standing in line or camping out overnight. And for Hispanics, still reeling from changes in immigration policies, shopping online can remove a potential barrier: fear.

The result: the most significant decline in brick and mortar purchases among the Total Market over last year, especially among Hispanic and Asian consumers, and a bump in online sales across the board.

Read on for more insights from ThinkNow Retail™ or click here to download the full report.

Hispanic and African-American holiday shopping on the rise.

After a year of waning sales, retailers can take solace in knowing that 3-in-10 consumers say they will be spending MORE during the upcoming holiday season compared to last year. Hispanics and African-Americans are the most likely to spend more this year with 33% of Hispanics and 39% of African-Americans planning on increasing their spend:

For Marketers: Use the data available to gain a thorough understanding of these consumers and what motivates their buying decisions. It is not as easy as putting an African-American actor in an ad or simply translating copy into Spanish. Understand the dynamics that make these two cohorts tic from a cultural perspective and shape your campaigns around those insights.

Consumers have more money to spend on gifts this year.

With the unemployment rate hovering just a little over 4% since April, consumers have a bit more cash in their pockets to spend this year. When you combine that with the deep discounts retailers are offering to remain competitive and positive consumer sentiment, conditions are favorable for shopping.

For Marketers: Personalize your marketing. Everyone will be offering deals so personalize the shopping experience by leveraging retargeting and automation campaigns.

Online retail and brick and mortar team up to win big

This shift toward online e-commerce has been inked in the headlines for months. Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods. Google partnering with Walmart. It’s clear that traditional brick and mortar brands see where the future is heading and are partnering with the resources they need to stay relevant. But at the same time, online giants like Amazon and Google realize that a lot of consumers still shop in-store, and a smart way to get the best of both worlds is to partner.

If you drill down to specific cohorts over the last 12 months, we have seen one of the largest shifts to online shopping among Hispanic consumers. A lot of this traffic was most than likely generated from the launch of Amazon’s new Hispanic website.

In 2016, 52% of all purchases made by Hispanic consumers were expected to be made at physical stores. In 2017 only 46% of all Hispanic Holiday purchases are planned for physical stores.

Technology, specifically innovations in mobile advertising and shopping apps, is absorbing those purchases. Sixty-two percent of Hispanics who will be making online purchases will use their smartphones. That’s significantly higher than the 50% Total Market average and 46% of non-Hispanic White online shoppers who intend to use their smart phones.

For Marketers: If you don’t have a mobile strategy, get one. Understand the mobile advertising technology available and utilize best practices to maximize your impact.

Family still tops the gift lists among Hispanic consumers.

While the importance of family may be a Hispanic marketing concept practitioners are tired of hearing, that doesn’t make it any less real. Hispanic consumers are the most likely of the Total Market to have children and siblings on their holiday shopping list:

Conversely, African-Americans and Asians are the most likely to dole out some of that oh-so-important self-love by shopping for themselves this holiday season:

For Marketers: Don’t be afraid to use messaging that invites consumers to consider adding themselves to the holiday gift list, especially among key demographics.

Amazon will see the most holiday action this year… no surprises here.

New to the ThinkNow Retail™ report this year is the inclusion of online retailers consumers are most likely to use to get their holiday shopping done this year. When asked, “Which of those retailers are you planning to shop at for the holiday season?” Amazon dominated this year’s ranking with 2-out-of-3 of the Total Market responding that they will shop at Amazon for the holidays – the highest of any retailer:

Asian consumers, in particular, are likely to shop via Amazon. Walmart ranks second overall; Target third. Interestingly, despite seeing a decline in Hispanic consumer foot traffic into their stores, Target still ranks high on the list among Hispanics for sites they’ll visit this holiday retail season, followed by Macy’s and JC Penney.

To download the full ThinkNow Retail™ report, click here.