It’s not Black Friday yet, but per the BlackFriday.com 2018 Holiday Shopping and Spending Survey, the holiday shopping season is already upon us. Will this be a record-breaking year? We spoke with our team here and took a look at what other prognosticators had to say, and landed on these 5 predictions:
1. eCommerce sales will experience double digit growth.
In a conversation with eMarketer, our own Jaysen Gillespie, Vice President and Head of Analytics and Data Science, concurred that ecommerce sales will increase by the mid double digits this holiday season. He predicts that brick-and-mortar will experience very moderate growth of 2% or less.
2. Mobile will account for more than half of sales.
Our Holiday Report 2018 has lots of data to back this up, and pretty much every other list of predictions includes this one. Mobile was a major player last year and will be even bigger this year.
3. Holiday shopping will start earlier than ever.
Jaysen also noted in the eMarketer article that Thanksgiving falls on its earliest possible date this year, on November 22, which adds more shopping days to the calendar. The ease of ecommerce shopping, and earlier retailer promotions are also fueling the early start.
4. AI-based product recommendations will account for 35% of all retail revenues.
In this ZDNet article, Rick Kenney, Head of Consumer Insights at Salesforce, predicts that more than a third of revenues this holiday will come from shoppers clicking on a product recommendation powered by AI.
(Read more: How 3 Companies Are Using AI to Transform Gift-Giving)
5. Voice shopping will make a small showing.
This PracticalEcommerce article predicts that voice shopping will account for 3% of sales this holiday. This Deloitte survey is more optimistic, putting the total at around 4.4% who plan to use voice assistants to shop this holiday.
(Read more: Retailers and Brands: If You Wait for Black Friday, You’re Too Late)
Here’s what you need to do to get ready for what promises to be an even bigger holiday than last year:
Don’t wait for Black Friday to start promoting deals.
Shoppers are searching for holiday gifts now, and according to Deloitte’s 2018 holiday retail survey, “half of all purchases are expected to be either completely or partially unplanned”. A well-presented product at an attractive price point can capture their attention and their wallet.
Make sure your mobile presence is on point.
Shoppers are researching and buying on mobile even more than on desktops now, so make sure your site, your promotions, and your cross-device capabilities are all buttoned up.
(Learn more: Why Mobile Retargeting Ads Are Crucial to Your App Strategy)
Add or upgrade your product recommendations technology.
Knowing that AI-based product recommendations will account for a third of revenues this season, it’s a good idea to revisit what you currently have in place (or not) and ensure it’s delivering the performance you need. Look for a solution that is retail focused, with enough data to deliver truly personalized, relevant recommendations.
Consider testing voice promotions.
It’s a small share of sales today, but many feel it will grow significantly in the next 5 years, reaching $40B in the US by 2020. If you have a little extra budget, try testing some voice promotions to start getting a feel for this emerging channel.