Friday, November 13, 2009

What's Ahead for Holiday Shopping?

Deloitte sees a challenging holiday season ahead for the nation's retailers. First, a look in the rear-view mirror: Deloitte's chart of historical holiday sales results, based on US Department of Commerce figures, shows a lot of minus signs for last year's results. In contrast, during every holiday season since 1993, sales increased during November, December, and January. But then came 2008-9, when consumers slammed their wallets shut.

This year, Deloitte's annual survey of retail spending and trends indicates that consumers' fear of recession is starting to subside. Still, its survey shows that shoppers plan to spend less on gifts and will be looking for sales and bargains when they do open their wallets. The top destination: discount stores. The top gift: a gift card.

The survey suggests that mobile marketing is gaining importance. A growing number of shoppers say they'll use their cell phones to locate stores, comparison shop, and obtain coupons. MediaPost's coverage of the Deloitte survey points out that Facebook and other social media will be a factor in this year's holiday shopping, as well.

Retailers are already offering Black Friday specials to encourage early spending and grab revenue from competitors. What will the price promotions mean for profits? Sounds like tough sledding ahead.

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