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RetailNext: It’s beginning to look a lot like a digital Christmas


SAN JOSE, Calif. — Uncertainty among the upcoming presidential election is not dampening holiday sales outlooks.


Indeed, retailers need to be ready to present their holiday best as U.S.-based retail performance over the November through December holiday period is expected to see a 3.2% year-over-year (YoY) lift in sales. This jump is driven partly by a 14.9% increase in YoY sales through digital channels, according to new data from RetailNext.


Based on current retail trends and broader macro-economic data, the retail analytics provider predicted that overall, digital sales will climb to 16% of total retail sales, up from 14.4% last year. This will also impact an 11% decline in brick-and-mortar store traffic in November, and 5% in December, as compared to 2015, RetailNext reported.


Meanwhile, strong selling metrics will minimize the impact of lower store traffic, with conversion increasing 0.5% in December. These factors will also contribute to a 6.5% lift in sales-per-shopper (SpS), the firm predicted.


"There will be slight degrees of variability in early November due to the uncertainty of the upcoming presidential election, but any residual angst from Election 2016 will likely be well over by Thanksgiving,” added Shelley Kohan, VP of retail consulting at RetailNext.


The appeal of digital touch points among shoppers should also be a wake-up call for retailers to "seamlessly present branded experiences across all shopping touch-points, both online and in-store," she added. “While Black Friday, Super Saturday and Cyber-Monday will continue their starring roles, retailers that reimagine Thanksgiving as a month-long event culminating with the holiday weekend will start the season strong. And those retailers nimble and agile enough to act in December on lessons learned in November will win the season.”


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