4 Predictions for the 2017 Holiday Shopping Season

During the 2017 holiday buying season, anticipate weather, mobile commerce, and self-gifting to contribute to an 18 percent increase in U.S. digital retail sales.

For the last couple of years, I’ve made yearly predictions for the holidays. I’m far from ideal, but I have been correct a long time. I’m taking a risk with my fourth forecast this year: an 18 percent increase in ecommerce sales. Do you believe I will be right?

Growth in mobile commerce, winter weather, and advertising around self-gifting may boost ecommerce sales this Christmas. Photo by Roberto Nickson.

1. Winter Weather Will Effect Holiday Retail Sales

Brick-and-mortar retailers have long understood how much weather affects sales. Demand for umbrellas goes up when it rains.

Long-range weather forecasts indicate that the days leading up to Black Friday and Cyber Monday could be colder than last year.

Weather Trends, a service which forecasts weather for retailers and other companies, is reporting that Thanksgiving Day could be six degrees cooler than last year at the northeastern United States and almost 20 degrees cooler than last year at the north-central section of the nation.

While the first chill of winter is often great for brick-and-mortar retailers, a trendy Black Friday might encourage some shoppers to go online rather than driving into a big box store.

2. 25 Percent of U.S. Ecommerce Sales Will Come From Mobile

There’s a mobile ecommerce difference. A vast majority of American shoppers spend more time on the internet on a mobile device than they do on a desktop computer or notebook computer. Nonetheless, as a group, ecommerce shoppers are more likely to make purchases from a notebook or desktop system.

Why? Because too many online stores do not offer a excellent mobile shopping experience. When retailers can make it just as easy to locate and purchase goods on a small, touch screen, ecommerce will get mobile commerce.

Enterprise retailers such as Amazon would be the first to actually make mobile commerce work. So they’ll be the ones enjoying the earnings increase in November and December.

For the 2017 holiday shopping season, I believe mobile commerce sales will account for 25 percent of all U.S. electronic earnings.

3. Self Gifting Will Be Big

Not every”holiday” buy from Halloween to Christmas is a gift for somebody else.

Approximately 70 percent of shoppers admit that they purchased a present or two for themselves during the holiday season this past year, according to the National Retail Federation.

So called self-gifting isn’t new. Retailers have seen the trend for ages. But in 2017, organizations, including the aforementioned NRF, are encouraging retail industry to advertise in self-gifters.

“Self-gifters are open to recommendations; retailers must produce calls to action for shoppers to’treat themselves’ 1 common self-gifting plan is to provide bonuses with gift cards and holiday purchases,” the NRF reported in its 2017 Retail Holiday Planning Playbook.

Given this reinforcement (and early reminder) in the NRF, I anticipate more retailers to produce self-gifting offerings and promote self-gifting in advertisements.

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4. Ecommerce Sales Will Grow 18 Percent

Some from the retail industry are indicating that U.S. ecommerce sales may slow a little in 2017 relative to previous decades.

For instance, eMarketer predicted that electronic holiday sales would grow about 15.8 percent this year, compared to some 17-percent growth in 2016.

I am a little more optimistic. In my view, enterprise ecommerce merchants have done a fantastic job of producing mobile shopping adventures (see forecast 1.) , helping to fuel ecommerce sales this Christmas.

What is more, big traditional retailers such as Walmart are attempting to boost ecommerce sales so as to compete with Amazon, possibly pushing more shoppers online.

Last Year’s Predictions

In September 2016, I made a similar collection of holiday shopping forecasts. Based on how liberally you grade me, I got two or three right.

“60 Percent of Online Orders Will Include Free Shipping.” At the time of writing, I couldn’t find a study or survey that created this amount. So I can’t confirm that 60 percent of online orders comprised a free shipping deal. What did your ecommerce business experience?

“Mobile Commerce Will Grow 60 Percent.” In america, mobile commerce sales for November and December climbed from about $11.8 billion to $17.1 billion last year, an increase of 44 percent year-over-year, according to comScore. I was, it appeared, a little too optimistic. About 21 percent of all holiday digital earnings (excluding travel) came from a mobile device.

Mobile trade grew 44 percent during the 2016 holiday season, according to comScore. Overall retail vacation ecommerce sales increased by approximately 17 percent.

“Ecommerce Sales Will Grow 13 Percent.” Ecommerce sales for November and December rose 17 percent in america in 2016, from approximately $68.3 billion to about $80.2 billion, according to comScore. Thus my forecast of 13 percent increase was overly conservative.

“Video Advertising on the Rise.” This was a soft forecast with no particular quantity of increase. However, I was, nonetheless, right that movie advertisements rose. “In 2015, U.S. agency and advertising professionals said they spent, on average, $5.6 million on electronic and mobile video advertising,” according to eMarketer,”A year later, they spent an average of $6.8 million, and this season [2017] they expect spending an average of $9.4 million.”

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