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Mobile and Multicultural Top the Holiday Charts

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There are a lot of articles and blogs devoted to holiday trends and tips… with good reason. With online sales poised to grow exponentially this holiday season, brick-and-mortar stores need to step up their game.

Mobile devices will be used by consumers more than ever—from buying, to researching products, to comparing prices. Retailers need to make sure they have a user-friendly mobile experience or risk losing big sales revenue over the holidays. More and more mobile users are likely to reserve products on their smartphones and pick them up at brick-and-mortar locations.

Deloitte’s annual holiday survey posted some interesting findings:

* In-store purchases will account for 52% of the shopper’s holiday budget.

* Consumers are expected to make about five trips to brick-and-mortar stores for shopping.

* The top gift choice is clothing (45%), followed closely by gift cards (43%).

* More than two-thirds of consumers plan to shop “local” (i.e., boutiques and independent retailers) this year in an effort “to support the local economy” and find “one-of-a-kind” gifts.

* Despite personal data protection being a major concern this year, 56% of those surveyed indicated they would shop at retailers who had experienced data breaches. But consumers are more likely to shop at a retailer who provides education about the security of their personal data.

* 43% of the respondents plan to do most of their shopping in December or later—an increase of 6% over last year.

* Almost 70% said they would look up and research items online, then buy it in a store. 74% indicated that coupons and promotions would influence their purchases. In descending order, consumer preferences are: free shipping, free returns, price-matching, extended holiday hours, ordering online for pick-up in store; and free lay-away.

Another consideration for retailers is the impact multi-cultural shoppers will have on holiday sales. Nielsen’s recent study shows increased holiday sales growth among this influential population segment. The survey, done in September 2014, reflects responses from over 25,000 multicultural households.

While 10% of the American population intends to spend more this season than in 2013, multicultural households make up 43% of the projected extra spending. Drilling down even further shows that 17% of African Americans polled plan to increase their spending, followed by 13% of Asian Americans and 13% of Hispanics. This is certainly significant, since more than a third of each of these groups plan on spending an average of $250-$500 on gifts, and more than 20% of each group thinks they’ll spend an average of $500-$1,000.

This population segment is also leading in smartphone use. While 68% of the general population said they carried smartphones, that number increased among African Americans (78%), Hispanics (79%) and Asian Americans (82%). This is another reason retailers need to be more paying attention to mobile activity.

These shoppers also intend to wait longer to make their holiday purchases, so retailers still have time to target them directly.

This demographic will devote the most money to buying gift cards, electronics and toys. They are expected to spend more than 12% on gift cards, 10% more on electronics items and 10% more on toys than they did in 2013. While many of the same items top multicultural consumers’ gift lists, these folks intend to spend more on their top categories than the general population.

Between 20-25% of the multicultural population will shop almost exclusively online. On Main Street, mass merchandisers, electronics retailers and toy stores will take up most of their time and dollars.

As more and more consumers feel comfortable opening their wallets again, brisk holiday sales are anticipated. Multicultural consumers will be a driving force for these sales. Marketers, retailers and manufacturers will get a chance to focus their efforts on these shoppers through both the products they seek and the stores where they shop. This burgeoning demographic should be a major consideration in merchandising and marketing retail strategy from now on. 

TAGS: retail, retail trends, holiday sales, holiday spending, omni-channel,
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