Holiday Update #5- It’s A Bumpy Ride

December 7, 2016

After a very strong Thanksgiving weekend and Cyber Monday for most of you, we are hearing that sales fell off dramatically Wednesday through Friday with some pick up over the weekend. The holiday season continues to be a bumpy ride. Categorically, the children’s market is doing well while the food/gift market continues to be soft. Results are very mixed across our apparel and home clients. Emerging brands continue to thrive, even at full price, showing us just how much consumers are hungry for something new. Interestingly, the men’s business is soft across the board, but they are comp’ing some big growth in the last few years.

Some of our favorite stats from last week:
· Of the $289 spent over Thanksgiving, $214 was on gifts, or 74%.

· Types of stores shopped Thanksgiving weekend: Department stores- 50.9%, Discount stores- 34.2%, Electronics stores- 31%, and Clothing or accessories stores- 28.4%.

· The most popular time to buy online is weekdays from 12-2pm and on Sunday evenings.

· 48% of holiday shoppers said they did the majority of their shopping on or before Cyber Monday.

· 41% of online shoppers purchased from a new retailer.

· 1 in 3 retailers dedicate 31-50% of their total online marketing budget to holiday efforts.

· 38% of marketers do not use personalization in their marketing efforts.

· Only 1.7% of E-Commerce orders on Black Friday through Cyber Monday came from social media (including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest).

Multiple Sources: NRF, Adept Blog, EConsultancy, Adobe, Google, Statista, TopRank.

We continue to see huge discounts, especially from the big multi-channel retailers in home and apparel as well as big box companies. We have taken the position that free shipping is no longer a promotion but an expectation. Here are some great free shipping stats from UPS:
93% of shoppers take action for free shipping.
Free shipping was deemed the 2nd most important factor for shoppers when purchasing online.
83% of shoppers will wait two more days in order to get free shipping.
Delivery speed is the 4th most important factor in the online buying process.
50% of shoppers will choose a slower transit time for free shipping.

After record volumes of mail every week in November, my mail volume last week was down to LY (69 pieces vs. 82) with the biggest declines for home (9 TY vs. 16 LY) and apparel (21 vs. 27). It will be interesting to see if there is more mail volume this week as companies try to capitalize on the trend towards consumers buying later. Some of the eye-catching pieces included a tri-fold from Olukai, Wrap London’s smaller catalog, Ted & Muffy (boots catalog – never seen before), (sent a dog Christmas card), Monticello (home catalog – never seen before), Torrid (fast fashion for the younger plus size woman), and Sundance’s Almanac (men’s only catalog).

Lastly, we are hard at work building a terrific speaker line-up for our spring conference in Napa. If you have any recommendations- or if you would like to speak yourself!- please don’t hesitate to let us know. Our speaker line-up this year includes industry leaders such as: Jodi Watson (SVP Petco Direct), Chris Nicklo (CMO ZGallerie), Lisa Bayne (CEO Artful Home), Sam Yaggan (former CEO, Beth Gumm (CMO American Giant), and Brian Tsung (CMO Bambeco). Here is the link to registration (retailers only).

As always, we hope this email finds you well and enjoying the spirit of the holidays,
Polly & Your Friends at Belardi/Ostroy