“We’re tempering our expectations a bit thanks to discretionary spending being squeezed and six fewer shopping days this season.”
This statement, issued by comScore on November 21, may give online retailers cause for concern, but it doesn’t paint a full picture of what the industry can expect for the holidays.
Despite modest expectations for the retail sector as a whole, comScore predicts eCommerce and mCommerce spending will rise 14 to 17 percent above last year’s numbers, which means there’s plenty of spending left to win.
To prepare retailers to capture this spend, comScore recently unveiled its “four digital trends” to watch this holiday season. The results give retailers greater insight into the extent to which mobile shopping, showrooming and social commerce will impact consumer behavior.
“Though some of these more revolutionary trends may have existed during last year’s season, market conditions have changed, which means that the way in which these trends impact the season are, of course, different than they were in 2012,” comScore wrote on November 21.
For more insight into the mindset of consumers and retailers this holiday season, we’ve complemented comScore’s findings with our most recent news on each trend. The result is an in-depth look at not only comScore’s predictions, but how consumers and retailers are aligning along these trends so far in 2013.
1. Mobile Shopping
For those who have been following PYMNTS.com, the move toward mobile solutions should not come as a surprise. This August, comScore revealed it’s opinion that mobile shopping has hit “critical mass,” meaning it now believes retailers who have not yet invested resources into catpuring mobile and tablet shoppers are at a competitive disadvantage.
comScore estimates that one-third of the average retail website’s traffic now comes from mobile devices, and that while apps are not “must haves” for retailers, such solutions do clearly have an impact.
The biggest shift this holiday season is that retailers are looking to accommodate mobile in store through mobile point-of-sale solutions and beacon technology. Coach, Macy’s and Apple have all made mobile improvements to stores just within the last week alone.
2. Social Commerce
comScore further named social commerce as another force impact holiday shopping, one that’s evident from a quick scan of recent headlines.
In recent weeks, Pinterest has been retailers’ pick of choice, perhaps due to its relative newcomer status: Nordstrom announced it would use Pinterest to help it decide which items to stock on its shelves, while Pinterest in turn moved to help more online businesses leverage the influence of its online audience.
comScore indicates that showrooming will still influence holiday shopping this season, citing the fact that 76 percent of consumers have admitted to showrooming. But, while comScore expects this trend to increase “this holiday season and beyond,” retailers have demonstrated that they’re looking to combat the practice, and have shown success doing so.
Recent PYMNTS.com research suggests the influence of showrooming may be waning. For example, Best Buy, which had long struggled with consumer showrooming, emerging to post a sizable online sales increase. Signs show this trend could continue, as Staples has since adopted similar practices.
4. Increased Mobile And Online Shopping Spending
The final trend comScore noted is that most retail growth will continue to occur via mobile and digital channels. Forrester’s research confirms this conjecture, recently reporting that e-tail sales are expected to rise 15 percent this holiday season.
Further, with NDP estimating that smartphones will represent an increasingly large part of the mobile pie in the coming years, retailers can likely expect this transition to continue.