Home / News /

Holiday Shopping Pulled In Two Directions

Holiday Shopping Pulled In Two Directions

As the echoes of Black Friday weekend fade, the retail realm experiences a temporary lull, with shoppers regrouping and procrastinators feeling the pressure to check off their holiday shopping lists. In this dynamic post-Black Friday landscape, we explore the recent economic indicators, global market shifts, and the evolving relationship between online and in-store retail.

Consumer Spending Economic Indicators:
Amidst the holiday shopping ebb, positive notes resonate in the payroll data released by the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics for November. With job gains meeting expectations at 199,000 and unemployment dipping to a better-than-expected 3.7%, the employment landscape showcases resilience. Notably, healthcare and government jobs experienced gains, while the conclusion of strikes in manufacturing and entertainment contributed to overall employment growth.

However, the decline in retail trade employment raises intriguing questions, especially considering November’s typical surge in temporary retail staff onboarding. Despite this, the monthly 0.4% increase and a 4% year-over-year rise in average wages strike a delicate balance against inflation fears.

ADP’s National Employment Report echoes the positive trend, revealing that private companies added 103,000 jobs in November, spanning various company sizes. Despite the uneven distribution, the broad-based hiring reflects a robust labor market.

Inflation and Retail Developments:
A positive shift in durable goods prices aligns with expectations, potentially aiding in achieving the Federal Reserve’s 2% inflation target by the second half of 2024. CVS’s announcement of prescription pricing revamp adds to the potential for falling prices, impacting consumers positively.

While most retailers maintain control over inventory, luxury retailers anticipate a pullback in consumer spending. The exception aside, retailers are poised for solid sell-through during the holiday season, with minimal reliance on heavy promotions.

Housing Market and Global Dynamics:
Redfin’s chief economist anticipates a positive turn in the housing economy in 2024, attributing it to expected interest rate reductions. However, the real estate landscape will see shifts, driven by factors like reduced home buying fees and “boomerang migration.”

Global markets present a diverse picture, with the UK potentially ceding its position as the hardest-hit economy in Europe to Germany. The latter faces challenges following a court ruling that disrupted government budget plans, impacting businesses and potentially reshaping Europe’s economic landscape.

The Crucial Interplay of Online and In-Store Retail:
While eCommerce sales surge, the symbiotic relationship between online and in-store retail remains evident. Ghost kitchens’ challenges highlight the importance of physical locations, providing consumers confidence in the online presence.

Survey data underscores the significance of in-store discoveries, with 31.5% of shoppers making immediate purchases. This contrasts with the lower online conversion rates, emphasizing the crucial role stores play in the shopper journey.

Looking ahead, predictions suggest a retail landscape with fewer, larger stores resembling flagship stores. Retailers aim to enhance experiences and services, presenting a challenge in achieving omnichannel store redesigns that bring flagship experiences to main streets worldwide.

Retail Tech Developments and GenAI:
Amidst the hype surrounding GenAI, recent research underscores its limitations. While it can enhance productivity, it operates within the bounds of average performance, posing challenges for high performers. Additionally, concerns about potential generation loss arise as more GenAI content floods the internet, questioning its long-term efficacy.

The post-Black Friday landscape unfolds with a tapestry of economic indicators, global shifts, and evolving retail dynamics. As we navigate this dynamic environment, the interplay between online and in-store retail remains a key focal point, shaping the future of consumer interactions and market trends. Stay tuned for more insights as the holiday season progresses.

Nikki Baird, Forbes.com

To read the full article, click here…