For Immediate Release: February 7, 2017
Total sales are expected to dip this year after peaking at last year’s record spending; Jewelry, an evening out at dinner/event, flowers, clothing and candy the most popular forms of gifts
TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Retail Federation (FRF), the state’s premier trade association celebrating its 80th year in supporting Florida’s retail industry, says Floridians will decrease their Valentine’s Day spending slightly this year, which reverses a decade-long trend of increasing spending. The average consumer will spend $136.57 in 2017, down from last year’s record high of $146.84, but total spending nationally is still expected to reach a robust $18.2 billion.
“The slight decrease in spending is understandable given the record-breaking pace Valentine’s Day spending had reached the previous ten years,” said FRF President/CEO Randy Miller. “This day is still expected to mean significant revenues for Florida’s retailers as consumers shower their loved ones with gifts, flowers, candy, tickets to events and dinners at local restaurants.”
According to FRF’s partners at the National Retail Federation’s annual survey conducted by Prosper Insight and Analytics, starting at an average $119.67 for a total of $16.9 billion in 2007, Valentine’s spending grew most years over the past decade before hitting last year’s record. But the number of people surveyed who plan to celebrate the holiday has dropped by nearly 10 percentage points over the same period from 63 percent in 2007 to 54 percent this year.
This year’s survey found consumers plan to spend an average $85.21 on their significant other/spouse, $26.59 on other family members such as children or parents, $6.56 on children’s classmates/teachers, $6.51 on friends, $4.27 on co-workers, and $4.44 on pets.
Consumers plan to spend $4.3 billion on jewelry (given by 19 percent of shoppers), $3.8 billion on an evening out (37 percent), $2 billion on flowers (35 percent), $1.9 billion on clothing (19 percent), $1.7 billion on candy (50 percent), $1.4 billion on gift cards/gift certificates (16 percent) and $1 billion on greeting cards (47 percent).
Also popular this year are “gifts of experience” such as tickets to a concert or sporting event, a gym membership or an outdoor adventure. While 40 percent of consumers want an experience gift, only 24 percent plan to give one.
Consumers plan to shop at department stores (35 percent), discount stores (32 percent), online (27 percent), specialty stores (18 percent), florists (18 percent), and local small businesses (15 percent).
ABOUT THE FLORIDA RETAIL FEDERATION
Founded in 1937, the Florida Retail Federation is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year as the statewide trade association representing retailers -- the businesses that sell directly to consumers. Florida retailers provide three out of every four jobs in the state, pay more than $49 billion in wages annually, and collect and remit more than $20 billion in sales taxes for Florida’s government each year. In fact, more than three out of four of Florida’s budget dollars come from retail-related activity.
November retail sales grew a solid 5 percent year over year and 0.1 percent from an already-strong October as consumers found the deals they were hoping for both online and in stores and showed their purchasing power during the first half of the holiday season, according to calculations released today by the National Retail Federation. Online and other non-store sales grew 15.3 percent year over year, reflecting the growth of online shopping. The numbers exclude automobiles, gasoline stations and restaurants.
“Consumers were able to take advantage of low prices throughout the first half of the holiday season, checking out with full baskets but paying less even though purchasing was up,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “The combination of job and wage gains led to solid holiday spending by American households.”
“Consumers have the wherewithal to spend but households remain measured and rational, which is no surprise given their history since the recovery began in 2009,” Kleinhenz said.
There were broad-based monthly increases across the majority of sectors with the exception of sporting goods.
November’s results indicate that retail sales for the holiday season will meet or exceed NRF’s holiday sales forecast, which anticipates an increase of 3.6 percent over last year’s level for November and December. For a look into the art of forecasting, read Kleinhenz’s article: The Art and Science of Economic Forecasting.
A few specifics from the report include:
“The holiday shopping season means tens of thousands of jobs for Floridians, and much-needed income for families this time of year,” said FRF President and CEO Randy Miller. Great news for Sunshine State retailers! The Florida Retail Federation is expecting a 4% increase in sales for the state, outpacing the national average of 3.3%.
Holiday shoppers plan to spend $935 on gifts and decorations this year. Average spending will be down slightly, but overall spending will be up, thanks to the growing economic impact of millennials.
Nerf items, Legos, microphones, drones and merchandise from the “Trolls” and “Star Wars” movies are expected to be popular. Self-gifting is expected to reach a record high, so go ahead and get something special for yourself, too, while you’re shopping! read more
In the classic film Miracle on 34th Street, the most accurate resource for product updates was R.H. Macy’s Santa Claus. Today, Santa’s got an app, and so do many of the stores he visits.
The result: Consumers are increasingly purchasing directly from mobile devices, skipping the aisle, the desktop and any possible referrals to Macy’s or Gimbels.
Sales on mobile devices increased 56% in 2015, to $49.2 billion — double the growth rate of 2014, according to The Wall Street Journal, citing comScore. Nearly 40% of desktop purchases in the fourth quarter of 2015 occurred after a customer visited the retailer’s app or mobile site.
Retailers are taking note. Many merchants from Target to Macy’s and more are offering holiday-specific apps or tailoring existing apps to include holiday trimmings.
“The retailers that are succeeding are training customers to think of their smartphones like an all-day impulse aisle,” The Wall Street Journal stated. “Apps are able to capture data available on handsets and push consumers to buy when they have a spare moment.”
Deck The Devices
For retailers, getting their apps on a shopper’s screen is the equivalent of getting their products under the tree. Consumers averaged more than 3 hours a day in app use in 2015. Further, 75% of shoppers used mobile devices in some fashion for holiday shopping, according to the software company SandBox Commerce.
These trends have not been lost on retailers. Not only are more of them offering holiday-specific apps; some are checking the app box twice. read more
By Bryan Pearson
With the holiday shopping season upon us, retailers are feeling the pressure to make big numbers during their busiest time of the year. Retailers generate 25 percent of their annual sales during this lucrative period according to the National Retail Federation (NRF).
There are more challenges for retailers than ever before. Brick and mortar stores are struggling with fierce online competition. Department stores such as Target, Walmart and BestBuy posted year-over-year declines of 7.3 percent. Further, mobile commerce is on the rise. Mobile shoppers now make up 61 percent of total ecommerce traffic, according to Unbxd.
All of that means retailers must have a complete omni-channel strategy to remain competitive.
So, what new technology can you expect to see retailers using this holiday season to boost their sales, online and offline?
Although online shopping is supposed to be easy for consumers, it often is a long and tedious process filled with doubts and guesswork.
For retailers, this guesswork is a major problem. According to the NRF, American consumers returned more than $360 billion in merchandise last year. And for 22 percent of those consumers, they do so because the products look different from the photos online.
Augmented reality (AR) is helping retailers combat this challenge. With AR, consumers can view 3D product models at home in real size before buying using their smartphone or tablet. The real-time rendering removes the guesswork for the consumer, facilitating the path to purchase.
Top retailers have already started offering AR solutions to their customers this holiday season. In early November, Wayfair launched its AR application, WayfairView, which is available on Lenovo’s Phab 2 Pro. The Phab 2 is Tango-enabled, meaning the device has depth sensing and rooming mapping built in. This technology is powering new AR experience for consumers.
“WayfairView allows shoppers to check the scale of products before they purchase to facilitate home-improvement planning, from furniture pieces and décor to ceiling lamps and chandeliers," said Mike Festa, head of Wayfair’s R&D lab Wayfair Next.
Lowes and Ikea are also among the retail giants that have launched augmented reality shopping apps.
Chatbots garnered a lot of attention in 2016, and retailers are making use of this smart technology to engage shoppers and to boost online sales.
Consumers now spend more time on messaging platforms than social media apps. Chatbots allow retailers to reach and engage consumers within those messaging platforms. Chatbots deliver automated content such as customer support and ecommerce solutions in real time. Even more, chatbots are now functioning with machine learning, allowing them to understand information and respond intelligently.
Major brands are leveraging chatbots, including Sephora, Tesco, Mattel, H&M and Toys R Us. In early 2016, Sephora launched a chatbot on Kik, a mobile messaging app. The chatbot offers personalized beauty tips and product recommendations based on the user’s tastes and preferences.
One of the biggest messaging platforms is Facebook Messenger, which boasts 1 billion global monthly active users. Facebook introduced chatbots earlier in 2016, and retailers are taking advantage. In October, just ahead of the holiday shopping season, eBay announced it was testing a chatbot shopping assistant on Facebook Messenger.
Chatbots add another layer of engagement and personalization to the shopping experience, helping brands drive conversions.
Brick and mortar is on the decline, while mobile shopping is on the rise. The challenge for retailers is connecting their offline and online channels. Beacons are helping brick and mortar stores do just that.
ABI Research predicts 400 million beacons will be deployed by 2020. Beacons allow retailers to push notifications to users while they are in stores when they are within a certain proximity to the device. These notifications are highly targeted and relevant for the user. With the right message, proximity marketing facilitates the in-store shopping experience.
From Macy’s to Target to McDonald’s, widespread beacon deployment is more than underway. One of the largest beacon rollouts this year was by Rite Aid. Rite Aid installed over 4,500 beacons in their stores across the United States. The beacons push notifications and promotions to customers, but they also allow the retailer to collect valuable data about in-store shopping patterns. That data can be leveraged to better optimize the in-store shopping experience.
With so many retailers deploying this technology, it’s more likely than not you’ll enter a store that uses beacons this holiday season. read more
By Lindsay Boyajian
Network World, Inc.