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

.

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.
Subscribe
Related reading
Image of a person typing on a laptop with paper and pens by the side, and a variety of different analytics icons sketched above it, such as graphs, charts and a clipboard.
Beyond Google Analytics: 10 SEO analytics and reporting tools

Analytics and reporting are a critical part of any SEO campaign, and while Google Analytics is a great place to start, it most certainly shouldn"t be where you stop. In this post, we"ll cover some of the best free and paid tools available for SEO reporting and analytics.

Analytics SEO 06 Nov 17 | Jessie Moore
Evolving past last-click attribution in paid search

Despite its inefficiencies, many marketers use last-click attribution by default to understand the value of their keywords. Getting to the root of the measurement problem and combining complementary data tools can help take your paid search optimization to the next level.

Analytics PPC 03 Nov 17 | Mike O"Brien
5 steps to making your content smarter

The convergence of SEO and content has been a driving force in marketing for the past few years. A recent survey conducted by BrightEdge found that 97% of marketers view these two areas as converged disciplines. And given that 51% of the traffic arriving to your website is likely from organic search, a growing understanding of the integration between these two areas is essential.

Content SEO 26 Oct 17 | Jim Yu
How indie publishers can monetize in the shadow of Facebook and Google

With multinational technological companies Google and Facebook conquering the field of online advertising revenue, many smaller companies and indie publishers are left wondering where they"ll end up in the digital world - if they"ll end up anywhere at all.

Content PPC 25 Oct 17 | Adam Stetzer

Nguồn: searchenginewatch.com