As the economy improves at a gradual but steady pace, retailers can expect moderate gains this holiday season, according to a recent forecast from Deloitte.
Deloitte's Retail & Distribution practice expects total holiday sales to climb to between $963 and $967 billion, representing a 4 to 4.5 percent increase in November through January holiday sales. Additionally, Deloitte forecasts a 12.5 to 13 percent increase in non-store sales, with nearly three-quarters of non-store sales resulting from online channels.
Deloitte also anticipates that mobile-influenced retail store sales will account for 8 percent, or $66 billion, in retail store sales this holiday season, driven by consumers' store-related smartphone activity such as product research, price comparison or mobile application use.
But according to Alison Paul, VP of Deloitte LLP and Retail & Distribution sector leader, the store is still a core element of holiday shopping, and retailers leading the way this season will be those that effectively bring together pricing, promotions, merchandise and inventory management across both physical and digital storefronts.
"Retailers now realize how to engage shoppers through their mobile devices both inside and outside the store, which is having a profound impact on customer interaction, store traffic and conversion rates," Paul said. "Consumers using their smartphones are more likely to make a purchase compared with other shoppers in the store, indicating that these activities are contributing to sales and keeping a shopper from turning to a competitor, contrary to the concern that 'showrooming' and price checking could negatively affect sales."
Read more about multichannel retailing.