Industry experts forecast gloomy holiday sales growth

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The NRF expects holiday sales to rise a meager 2.2% this year, compared with last, the slowest in six years. TNS Retail Forward Inc.’s research paints an even gloomier holiday picture with growth of just 1.5%, the lowest in 17 years.

Whichever way you cut it, both reports conclude consumer concerns about the economy are going to have a huge effect on holiday sales. Perhaps more worrying for retailers is that the research for both reports was conducted before the most recent economic chaos on Wall Street.

Online sales won’t escape the downturn in spending, according to TNS Retail Forward Inc., who is predicting the first single-digit rate of growth (9%) of the last decade.

What can online marketers do to attract sales and customers in the coming festive, but perhaps lean, months?

– Start holiday promotions now. Even some major bricks-and-mortar stores are already displaying holiday inventories and advertising.

– Implement “early bird” discounts as consumers begin their holiday shopping early and begin approaching existing customers with seasonal offers.

– Highlight lower-priced products as consumers seek to cut back on spending. Target is focusing on promoting gifts for under $25.

– Add value such as free gift-wrapping and free delivery.

– Attract bargain hunters with coupons via email or text and take it to a viral level with member-get-member incentives.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kristina Knight is a freelance writer with more than 15 years of experience writing on varied topics. Kristina’s focus for the past 10 years has been the small business, online marketing, and banking sectors, however, she keeps things interesting by writing about her experiences as an adoptive mom, parenting, and education issues. Kristina’s work has appeared with BizReport.com, NBC News, Soaps.com, DisasterNewsNetwork, and many more publications.