The holiday shopping season is already here, so you have no time to postpone making your purchases. Every year, shoppers have different expectations, and the merchants struggle to meet them. This year, more people are in the workforce than in recent holiday seasons, meaning the general public is expected to do more shopping. Experts predict that retail holiday shopping will increase five percent over last year, while e-commerce is expected to go 17 to 22 percent higher. U.S. shoppers in higher income groups especially benefited from a federal tax cut, so luxury marketers may see a better season than they have in recent years due to increased disposable income. Overall, this holiday shopping season is expected to be off the charts.
Shoppers will not just be focusing on buying gifts for others. Some of their purchases will be for holiday entertaining. In fact, a survey showed that "55 percent of respondents plan to buy themselves new clothes over the holiday season.”
The gifts expected to be popular this year include the usual tech items, toys, and clothing. Millennials are expected to be the big spenders, doling out around $2,000 each. As a group, they are looking at health and wellness items and environmentally aware brands. They expect quality and a positive, tech-savvy experience as well.
While mobile buying is exploding, 91% of shoppers plan to visit traditional brick and mortar stores. Many will combine their visits with online shopping, so stores that integrate their store and online experiences should benefit. General merchandise retailers like Walmart and Target have made solid moves in that direction, with Walmart adding 18,000 personal shoppers this year to fulfill online orders from retail store shelves.
Retail chains usually allow free shipping when items ordered online are delivered to a local store. Often, retailers will let online purchases be returned to a local outlet. This integration allows shoppers to easily move from online to in-person shopping, which makes their lives easier and encourages more purchases and brand loyalty.
The luxury goods market is also moving toward a combination of retail and online shopping, but since the cost of the items is higher, they have to provide an extra level of shopping security to keep their customers happy.
All consumers want a secure shopping experience, one that protects their personal and financial information. They also want to be certain that they are getting what they paid for. In the luxury market, counterfeit products are a particular danger, with many top brands suffering from a glut of knockoffs on the grey market. Customers are understandably furious when they spend thousands of dollars only to get a fake designer item.
Top luxury brands are taking steps to fight off the counterfeits, using companies like Certilogo to authenticate their items. Certilogo creates special codes and puts them in products as a tag or label. The customer can immediately scan this code using their smartphone or computer and verify that the item is real. This type of security allows luxury buyers to shop in a store or online knowing that they will not be stuck with a fake this holiday season.
This year's holiday shopping season promises to be wildly successful for retailers and fun for consumers as well. They will have more money to spend on the items that they really want, and their experience will be a convenient blend of in-person and online purchases. In addition, new security measures will help keep them safe from fraud.