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Holiday Hub 2016

Coach, American Eagle And Burberry Fastest To Fulfill Holiday Orders

As Christmas Day nears, the pressure is on retailers to deliver their orders in a timely manner. Cyber Monday shipping data from 84 retailers reveals that brands such as Coach, American Eagle, Burberry and Kate Spade have been the real holiday shipping champions of 2016, according to a survey from Kurt Salmon, part of Accenture Strategy.

Coach fulfilled its order in only two days, the only studied retailer to do so. Retailers that delivered in three days included American Eagle, Burberry and Kate Spade, while brands that sent packages in four days included Lululemon, DSW, GNC, Nordstrom, Target and Zappos.

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Rise In Consumer Confidence Opens Wallets Wider This Season

0aaholiday-shopping-frugalEarly in the holiday season, when consumers are still just planning how much they are going to spend, it's easy for them to underestimate what their actual purchases will be. Despite promises to really rein in expenditures, wallets tend to open wider as the season progresses.

In October 2016, 16% of adults said they would spend more this holiday season compared to last year. By December, that number had climbed to 21%, according to CivicScience. And while approximately 36% of adults said they would spend less during the holiday season when interviewed in October, that number dipped to 30% in December, showing that shoppers aren’t saving like they thought they would.

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Dogs Will Receive 2.5X More Gifts Than Cats This Season

1-Cat dogApparently the naughty list contains more cats than dogs. Man’s best friends will receive more than 2.5X the number of gifts this holiday compared to their feline compatriots. SLI Systems studied 3.5 million consumer searches across several e-Commerce pet product sites during the four weeks leading into the holiday season. (The study excluded searches for pet supplies, such as food or medicines, focusing on likely gift items.)

Pet owners will spend an average of $62 each this year on dogs, cats or both, according to PwC’s 2016 Holiday Outlook. Millennials are expected to outspend everyone else at $81 each, followed closely by Gen X at $79, families with children at $71, and singles at $70.

It’s A Dog’s Life

Overall, searches containing the word “dog” were 2.5X more common than those containing “cat.” So, what are dog lovers buying for their favorite pooches?

0aholidayhubIt seems that most canines will be all set for slumber. Across the globe, site searches for “dog bed” were nearly twice as common as the second most popular item, “dog collar.” The remainder of the top 10, in order, were: toys, treats, coats, bowls, sweaters, crates, chews and bones.

Additionally, dog owners are always digging for deals. Searches for dog products accompanied by the word “sale” were 16% more common than those for cats.

Merry Hiss-mas!

And what of the cats? Naturally most felines want to play and scratch, so watch out for that new couch. The survey found that 16% of cat-related searches were for “cat toy,” earning the leading spot among the most popular cat gifts this season. Also clawing their way into the top 10, in order: “scratch” items, beds, catnip, collars, treats, carriers, bowls, trees and of course condos.

California and New York Lead In Pet Gifts

Top Five Dog-Loving States: Dogs are living the dream in California, where 9.2% of all dog-related site searches originated. Grabbing 7.7% of dog item searches was New York State, followed by Florida (5.8%) and then Pennsylvania and Texas, tied at 5.7%.

Top Five Cat-Loving States: Cats also find most comfort in California. More than 10% of U.S. searches for cat products originated in the Golden State, with New York (8.9%) close behind, followed by Pennsylvania (6.5%), Florida (6.1%) and Wisconsin (5.8%). New York and California also virtually tied for top searches for “kitten” items.

For the most part, the search percentages paralleled the human population: California, New York, Florida and Texas are among the most populous state in the U.S. The outlier is Wisconsin: with about 5.8 million residents it ranks 21st in population, making the state’s outsize love of furry felines notable.

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Subscription Retail Sales Jump 17% On Black Friday

While subscription businesses need to build a sustainable model if they want long-term success, this holiday season has given them a welcome short-term boost. Year-over-year same-store sales at subscription businesses increased 17% on Black Friday and 16% on Cyber Monday, according to Recurly.

The growth rates compare favorably to overall e-Commerce volume from Adobe Digital Insights, which reported that shoppers spent 12.1% more on Cyber Monday in 2016 than they did in 2015.

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‘Tis The Season For Scams: How Blockchain Helps Prevent Brand Fraud

0aLaurence Haziot IBM GlobalWhen consumers fire up their credit cards to buy hundreds of billions worth of holiday cheer online this season, scammers will be there to collect their share from Santa, too.

The rate of online credit card fraud is rising sharply as a growing number of purchases take place on the web. According to data on the 2015 holiday season from ACI Worldwide, online transactions worldwide increased 21% over the holiday shopping season last year — with rates of fraud attempts soaring 8% between Thanksgiving and the end of 2015.

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Promotions Prevail As Holiday Discounts Increase 52%

The deep discounting that dominated Thanksgiving weekend was not an anomaly. The holiday season as a whole has been affected by consumers’ expectations of reduced prices. In 2016, orders using a promotion are up 34% versus 2015 and up 52% over the holiday season from Nov. 1 to Dec. 5, according to data from DynamicAction.

While the promotions have done wonders for retailers' revenues, setting records on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the overreliance on markdowns has cut into profit margins by 19% throughout the year.

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87% of Small Business Retailers Ready for Holiday Season…And Caffeine

1-small biusinessA new survey conducted by small business loan marketplace Lendio shows that a majority of small business retailers have a positive outlook about this holiday season.

The survey, which looked at retailers with less than 100 employees, found that 87% of small businesses are confident in their preparations for the holiday season, and 81% are confident this season will be a success for their business. Among businesses that feel unprepared going into the holiday season, the largest group (30%) cited lack of capital as the reason.

“Small businesses are key drivers of our economy, so it’s crucial that they have the tools they need to succeed, including access to options for business-sustaining capital,” said Brock Blake, Founder and CEO of Lendio in a statement. “It’s a positive sign for the economy that so many businesses are confident going into the holiday season, the biggest time of year for retailers.”

Other key findings from the survey include:

  • Just 27% of small business retailers said they didn’t expect to need additional financing for the holiday season (another 37% are in “wait and see”mode). 
  • For small businesses needing capital, 81% said they would only need $50,000 or less. Building inventory (56%) and boosting advertising (28%) were the most commonly cited needs for additional financing.
  • For companies seeking additional capital, 44% of small business retailers cited credit lines as the top source they would consider, followed by SBA loans from local banks or credit unions, friends and family, personal credit cards, SBA loans from a national bank, online loan marketplaces and home equity loans.
  • If the need for capital should arise, 87% are confident they will be able to pay the loan back on time.

0aholidayhubIn addition, the survey found that the added demands of the holiday season take a toll on small business owners, who find various ways to cope. Many fight off exhaustion by increasing their caffeine consumption (58%); others report sacrificing personal needs (32%); and 42% of respondents say they are planning a vacation once the holiday season is over.

“The holiday rush can be a stressful time for small business retailers, whether it’s staffing issues, lack of capital, inventory, opening another location, boosting advertising or insufficient personal time,” Blake said. “It’s inspiring that so many business owners are confident in their ability to repay financing. This time of year especially, we can all do our part to support the retailers who operate in and contribute to our local communities.”

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64% Of Holiday Shoppers Worried About Final Cost Of Items

1-Affirm HolidayConsumers' ability to pay with credit cards is a big win for retailers, but it may be diminishing shoppers' purchasing pleasure. The 2016 Holiday Shopping Report from Affirm revealed that:

  • 64% of shoppers said they worry about the final cost of items bought with credit;
  • Shoppers are going mobile, but more than half of respondents said the uncertainty of the final price due to credit card interest makes them enjoy their purchase less; and
  • Retailers seeking to compete with Walmart and Amazon will need to offer promotions, discounts and pay-over-time options to lure customers.

To Beat Amazon, Be Like Amazon

It’s becoming much harder for retailers to stand out against Amazon; a large majority, 84% of consumers, make the retail giant their first stop. Even more worrisome is that because shoppers increasingly prefer to stay at home and do their holiday shopping online, it’s more important than ever to be at the top of the list during consumers' online shopping search. 

For example, during Black Friday 2015, shoppers spent nearly twice as much at Walmart when they made it their first stop as opposed to their second. And while most of those shoppers did go to multiple retailers, 38% of those that went to Walmart first didn’t go anywhere else. 

0aholidayhubBut it’s not all bad news. Although Amazon is expected to take a large piece of the pie this holiday season, 72% of consumers said they would be willing to shop at a retailer they haven’t used in the past year, if they are given special promotions or coupons. What’s more, 42% of consumers don’t expect to pay full price on their purchases, so get those discounts ready.

Black Friday And Cyber Monday Set Mobile Records

If you needed further proof of mobile's power, this year has provided it. More than ever, shoppers are using mobile: mobile accounted for 36% of total Black Friday sales, hitting an unprecedented $1.2 billion. It’s the first time mobile sales on Black Friday have ever crossed the $1 billion mark and represents a 33% year-over-year increase.

Mobile also accounted for the bulk of Black Friday’s site traffic — 55% of it, to be exact. While that didn’t directly translate into sales, it illustrates that even those buying via desktop are increasingly using their mobile devices to browse and make decisions. Other key findings  include:

  • 64% of transactions on Black Friday were mobile;
  • AOV increase over 2015 on Black Friday was a 4.3% and 8.8% on Cyber Monday; and
  • 53% of Black Friday shoppers were female; on Cyber Monday the female percentage was 57%.
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