Christmas is almost upon us and the most organized consumers will already have all their festive shopping done – or at least most of it. After much uncertainty throughout this year with regards to economy, what are retailers expecting from Christmas 2017?

Recently Barclays bank conducted a survey based on Retail Confidence for the 2017 Christmas period, which highlights that over 70% of retailers are expecting this year to be as good as or an improvement on 2016.

Consumers Splurging for Christmas

Christmas shoppingConsumer confidence has been quite low lately, faced with higher levels of inflation and increased prices without the significant pay rises affording them with more disposable income to spend on non-staple goods.

Shoppers don’t seem to be deterred by their reduced income, as retail revenue growth is expected to be around 5% from the previous year, boosting seasonal spend to over £78 billion; implying that the holiday season won’t be affected too much by latest retail statistics.

Statistics from Black Friday weekend and Barclays research highlight that the top 3 growth sectors for Christmas 2017 are:

  1. Gift cards and vouchers
  2. Health and beauty
  3. Homewares

Gift Cards and vouchers

Gift cards and vouchers are an excellent way to expand footfall, increase sales and encourage loyalty; with research from the UK Gift Card and Voucher Association (UKGCVA) and Barclays concurring that they are a valuable source of revenue for retailers and predicted to be the strongest performing category in the run up to Christmas.

Although popular amongst all age groups, it is Millennials who tend to purchase gift cards and vouchers on a regular basis, with around 44% buying one at least once every two months. Another interesting statistic is that over 72% of gift card and voucher recipients often spend much more than the card is worth, adding over 50% on top of the card value.

Retailers should take every opportunity to grasp gift card and voucher sales throughout the year but ensure that a strategy is in place to boost sales over the Christmas period. Technology and intelligent Cloud retail systems that have the capacity to add a gift card module, provide retailers with the flexibility and ease needed to operate a successful, feature rich offering, whilst achieving optimum sales during busy times.

Health and BeautyHealth and beauty retail

Often a popular choice of gift, the health and beauty market has steadily been a strong revenue generator, especially throughout November and December, with 64% of retailers predicting that the market will see sales growth.

Celebrity and social media influences are among the many drivers for the surge in this market, which is estimated to be worth around £27 billion by 2022. Success is pinned on the strategy that health and beauty retailers plan to accommodate this growth, ensuring all sales channels are frictionless.

Cloud technology is at the center of enabling multi-channel retail, with beauty company Neal’s Yard Remedies experiencing success since employing a Cloud EPoS system. Implementing the retail system across their own and franchised stores has given them real-time visibility of stock, sales, promotions and best performing products.

Homeware

Homeware and electricals are third on the list for expected growth this Christmas, with 60% of retailers predicting increases in the market. October alone saw an average weekly spend of £226m on homeware from house-proud UK consumers, a figure that is set to rise well into the New Year.

As the popularity of homewares increases, so too does the need to ensure multi-channel retail is working for you. Implementing a real-time end to end EPoS system that enables you to extend digital aisles and showroom products is essential for the busy period ahead; ensuring that you don’t miss out on vital sales.

Prominence of Multi-Channel Retail

Online sales are expected to make up approximately 30% of Christmas revenue this year, with a further 13% coming from consumers shopping via mobile phones. Although a higher proportion of people still enjoy visiting high streets and retail parks, it is essential that multi-channel is not forgotten; consumers expect a hassle free, seamless experience when buying from retailers, no matter what channel they choose to purchase via.

Read the latest opinion piece from RetailStore CEO Ian Tomlinson here:

Retailers: What to Expect from Christmas 2017

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