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Trends Set to Influence Holiday Retail Season

According to the National Retail Federation’s forecast, the U.S. retail market is anticipating a 4 percent sales gain this November and December from last year’s season. A new report from CBRE highlights the trends in store for retailers and shoppers this shortened holiday retail season, including an earlier start to holiday promotions, new collaborations to shorten delivery windows and pare their cost, a proliferation of pop-up stores, and the growing popularity of resale goods as gifts.

CBRE and others anticipate that consumer spending will stay resilient despite uncertainty about international trade and a slowdown in global economic growth. E-commerce sales are expected to grow at an 11 percent to 14 percent clip this season.

“Early signs indicate 2019 will post a strong holiday retail performance, despite the shortened season. Retailers got a head start this year, many launching promotions before Thanksgiving, and they are being creative in their efforts to make the experience as unique, convenient and enjoyable as possible. As pop ups and small footprint marketplaces continue to evolve, consumers are responding well to places like Denver’s Free Market, which provide a great local
alternative to online and larger shopping centers. Resale items are also gaining ground as the traditional consignment concept is elevated through technology and consumers become more mindful in both their ability to save money and reduce waste,” said Michael Kendall, vice president with CBRE’s Retail Services in Denver.

Four trends shaping the season as it unfolds:

Lightning-Round Season

This holiday season is the shortest since 2013, with only 26 shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas. That led many stores to begin their holiday promotions earlier than usual, including one major discount retailer promoting deals on toys, electronics, home goods and sporting goods on Oct. 25.

Pop-Up Stores Are Here to Stay

Retail centers and retailers alike have honed their strategies of using multiple pop-up stores to generate customer traffic, introduce new merchandise and test new concepts. Some are doing so for the first time.

Many Solutions to the Delivery Dilemma

Retailers are pursuing multiple strategies to both provide same- or next-day delivery and do so at a manageable cost. Many of their solutions entail enticing the customer to pick up their order at a store or third-party location, including drug stores, craft-store chains, dollar stores and even auto-parts stores.

Resale Now a Gifting Option

Resale shops and websites have made inroads as gift-buying destinations, even for luxury items. An Accenture survey found that 48 percent of consumers would buy pre-owned apparel and accessories as gifts. The survey also found that 56 percent would accept pre-owned merchandise as gifts this season. One strategy being employed by luxury resellers, among other retailers, this season is a ‘buy now, pay later’ system in which shoppers can enroll in short-term, flexible payment programs to finance big-ticket purchases.

To read the full report, click here.

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