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Holiday Expectations Differ for Retailers, Consumers

Retailers are predicting big box stores to be their biggest competition for holiday shopping dollars, but customers see it a little bit differently.

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Growing numbers of consumers (26%) are expecting to do most of their holiday shopping online, according to the inaugural 2017 Consumer Beat Survey, released by BDO Surveys.

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While shoppers choose online retailers as the final destination of a significant portion of their shopping dollars, about half of all retailers are expecting big box stores to be their most significant threat. Yet only about 21% of shoppers expect to do most of their shopping in big box stores.

“This year’s holiday sales may reveal a hard truth. The disconnect between retailers’ expectations and consumers’ actual preferences around online shopping, shipping and disposable income suggests that consumers are evolving faster than the C-suite can adapt,” said Natalie Kotlyar. “Retailers can bridge this gap by improving their data analytics, customer service and offerings tailored to their core demographics.”

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In addition, the 100 retail CEOs, CFOs and CIOs surveyed predicted a 2.2% increase in 2017 holiday sales, which is at odds with the responses of the 1,000 consumers who expected to spend about the same as they did in 2016.

The increase in spending is not expected to uniform, however, with Cyber Monday expected to receive a 2.8% bump in sales this year, while Black Friday sales are only expected to increase by 1.8%.

Both customers and retailers pointed to price as the key element to buying decisions, with 54% of consumers choosing price as the most important factor in their buying decisions, and and 68% of retailers expecting price competition to be most challenging this year.

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