Digital Makes Major Holiday Shopping Gains, Physical Stores Suffer
January 11, 2017,
NEW YORK-The holiday shopping season marked another milestone in digital retailing, with online and mobile sales rising by double digits, according to various reports. Physical stores sales and foot traffic, however, lagged.
Kohl’s posted a 2.1 percent drop in holiday same-store sales.
The season stretching from Nov. 1 to Dec. 31 produced online sales of $91.7 billion, up 11 percent over the same year-ago period, according to numbers from research firm Adobe Digital Insights. Fifty-seven out of the 61 holiday shopping days yielded more than $1 billion in online sales. Looking inside these figures, sales generated by mobile devices totaled $28.4 billion, an increase of 23 percent year over year.
In contrast, sales at brick-and-mortar stores were weak. Sales in the physical store channel fell 10.7 percent in December, on a 13.4 percent drop in shopper traffic, according to RetailNext, provider of retail analytics for brick-and-mortar stores.
Digital proved to be the bright spot in brick-and-mortar retailers’ assessments of their holiday seasons. Terry Lundgren, Macy’s chairman and CEO, said sales at both macys.com and bloomingdales.com increased by double digits during the holidays. J.C. Penney’s e-commerce business posted a double-digit gain in the period as well, validating the retailer’s omnichannel strategy of improving its website functionality and expanding its fulfillment capabilities, shipping options and product assortment, said Marvin Ellison, chairman and CEO.
The holidays provided other signals of the change in the role of physical stores. RetailNext noted that average transaction value in the stores rose 5.6 percent in December, and sales per shopper were up 3 percent. These measures show “how the role of stores has changed as brands are converging their digital and physical touchpoints into a singular, seamless shopping experience,” said Bridget Johns, RetailNext’s head of marketing and customer experience. Stores should be “focused on brand awareness, customer acquisition and value-added services, complementing the long-term cultivation of shoppers through various digital touchpoints,” Johns said.
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