The holiday season seems to start earlier in the US each year and grows ever more complex with the growth of ecommerce and the introduction of events like Singles Day. According to Kantar Retail's, Reid Greenberg, there are eight top trends to watch out for in the online world this 2016 holiday season:
1) Black Friday online now begins ahead of Halloween
The US kicks off its holiday season with Christmas and holiday decorations displayed side by side with Halloween and Thanksgiving items. Kantar Retail predicts that this trend will undoubtedly continue as the weeks draw nearer to November and December. Walmart is a prime example of a big box retailer already touting Black Friday sales. There are to be more eTailers to offer sneak-peak Black Friday deals leading up to 24 November
2) Sales on Mobile Devices will surge
Kantar Retail assures that this holiday season will revolve around mobile devices. In 2015, sales on mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) surged 58.5% to $12.65 billion from $7.98 billion in 2014, according to comScore estimates.We can expect these high growth rates to continue in 2016.
3) Click and Collect Grocery: 2016 is all about convenience
US shoppers should expect grocery stores such as Kroger and Publix to offer convenient click and collect solutions for holiday meal-time preparation (ready-for-you kits). Shoppers should also be on the lookout for ‘ready-made meal solutions’ pre-assembled for the busy shopper. This trend will make it easier for consumers to add their entire Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas or holiday meal to their cart with one simple click.
4) The US gets involved in Singles Day
Singles Day this year isn’t just taking place in China. November 11 is the biggest online shopping event in the world. In 2015, Singles Day outsold Cyber Monday by more than $10 billion. US eTailers will want to capitalize by adding another promotional shopping day in order to drive sales in Q4.
5) Virtual reality becomes mainstream
Virtual reality/Augmented reality players like Oculus Rift, PlayStation VR, HTC Vive are to become frontrunners as consumers become more familiar with this type of platform. In time for holiday shopping, Google released a ‘simple, fun and affordable’ VR device for the masses with its $15.00 Google Cardboard.
6) Partnerships Prevail
The desire for convenience will drive partnerships and delivery solutions. Last-mile delivery has proved to be a clear winner this autumn with startups like Instacart, DoorDash, and the US Postal Service establishing relationships with retailers, restaurants and grocery stores. Kantar Retail expects to see holiday delivery promotion from companies like UberRush, Lyft, Shipt, and more. As traditional brick and mortar companies attempt to compete with online pure-plays, watch for these partnerships to increase over time.
7) E-commerce sites will hold their own against Amazon
Popular e-commerce sites, Walmart.com, BestBuy.com, and Target.com can still experience steady growth this holiday season. Kantar Retail suggests looking for innovation and offers from the non-Amazon platforms that serve to capture share of the consumer’s wallet. An example of this would be Best Buy announcing their plans to hold midnight openings at 350 stores for the PlayStation VR12 on 13 October to get ahead of the curve.
8) Nearly half of the US will look to Amazon for holiday shopping
Kantar Retail estimates 47% of US consumers are Amazon Prime members. It is expected that Amazon will capture about 55% of a consumer’s first product search during the 2016 holiday season. Many of these searches will, in fact, convert buyers on the site. Amazon will use its Echo platform to drive even greater holiday shopping engagement with special Alexa/Echo-only deals for Prime members. Other items from Amazon like its Fire TV Stick, Echo Dot, Kindle will be incremental drivers for the site.
Source: Kantar, Kantar Retail