Consumer spending this holiday season to be driven by technology
According to a survey released by the National Retail Federation, consumer spending this holiday season will be up from last year in all categories, reaching the highest levels in the survey's 14-year history.
Consumer spending this holiday season to increase
Shoppers are anticipated to spend more than $800 during the holidays this year, with approximately $460 going toward gifts for family members, $107 towards food and $130 on themselves, the NRF report predicts.
"Despite the challenges that still exist in our economy, it looks as if consumers are eager to celebrate the holidays with friends and family this year," said Matthew Shay, president and CEO of the NRF.
Shay added that there will be "a healthy dose of optimism" in consumer's spending habits this year, but that they will still be relying on good deals to help them make the most out of their purchases. The survey reports that nearly half of the consumers polled – 46.7 percent – said that shipping deals or free shipping options will impact where they decided to make purchases, for example.
Seventy-three percent of those surveyed reported that overall sale or price discounts will influence which businesses they shop with.
More than half of consumers will shop online
Not only will people be spending more money for the coming holidays, but they will be using personal technologies to do so.
Nearly 53 percent of consumers plan to conduct their shopping online this holiday season. Those who plan to shop online said they anticipate 46 percent of their transactions will take place on the Web this year, compared to 44 percent last year. Mobile shopping will also increase, as 21.4 percent of smartphone users said they would use their phones to shop this season, representing the biggest portion of mobile buyers since the survey first asked this question in 2011.
Multi-channel management tools essential for merchants this season
In order for merchants to get the most out of the holiday season this year, they will need to engage in multi-channel retailing, and have strong marketplace software to make managing orders and inventory more effective and organized. The shops that thrive the most this season will be able to provide consumers with everything they are looking for, as well as give them multiple avenues to make purchases.
With a nearly even split of consumers saying that there shopping will be done online versus offline and in-person, single-channel merchants will effectively be cutting themselves off from half of their potential customers by not providing both online stores and traditional shops. For many, trying to track their products and customers during the hectic holiday season is challenging already. For those who are trying to balance multiple outlets, it can be downright daunting. Fortunately, there are products to make customer management and inventory management simpler by combining the many areas that merchants need covered in one, easy-to-use dashboard. Omnichannel management software will save crucial time for stores' during their busiest season and will eliminate the headaches of trying to track multiple store fronts at once.