In June 2013, RetailNext issued 2013 Spring Holiday Shopping Data and Insights for brick-and-mortar retail, along with an infographic that took a detailed look the data and trends that took shape during the weeks leading up to Easter, Mothers Day, Fathers Day, and Memorial Day.
Using the RetailNext in-store analytics platform, our insights team studied 41 million shopping trips to department stores and specialty retailers across more than 500 U.S. cities. We analyzed traffic, conversion, sales, and average transaction values (ATV) for the 2013 spring season, including the four holidays.
We found the two drivers for changing shopping patterns around holidays this spring: gift giving and special events that changed when consumers hit the stores. What’s more, the increased activity leading up to both Mother’s Day and Father’s Day represented a significant boost to retailers.
Retailers have huge opportunities to learn from all this. We can plan ahead for well-timed promotions around gender-specific gifts and merchandise, increase staff for peak traffic to boost service and conversion, and balance activities to drive traffic on softer shopping days.
Before we look at the lessons from last season, we should look at a few external factors likely to affect shopping behavior during the coming months. The indicators look promising!
What’s different this spring?
- The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index® was at 78.1 in Feb 2014, heading into spring
- In February 2013, the Index was at 68.0, a full ten points lower
- The Index had improved by June 2013, rising 13.4 points to 81.4
- The long hard winter endured by those along the Atlantic and Midwest could have shoppers feeling peaks of spring fever. Some regions should see warmer-than-normal temps this April according to the Farmers Almanac long-term forecast (Atlanta +1°, NYC +4°, and Chicago +4.5° for example)
Given all this, it’s up to brick-and-mortar retailers to capitalize on the fresh air and eager wallets. Here are my Top Five Tips to make traffic, conversion, and sales bloom in stores:
1) Good Friday will be just that; staff for it ─ Easter Sunday fell early in 2013: on March 30. The week preceding Easter saw a ramping uptick in traffic over a typical week’s pattern, peaking on Friday, when shopper traffic hit a 47% increase over a typical Friday. With many stores closed on Easter, the days leading up to that Sunday see greater than the typical amount of traffic. Staff up on Friday, but slim down again the rest of the weekend.
2) All about moms on Mother’s Day. Last year, sales lifted sharply from Thursday through Saturday prior to Mother’s Day, compared to a typical, non-holiday week in the spring (up about 14%). In 2014, shoppers are likely to focus again on last-minute Mother’s Day purchases, so plan for promotions on gift merchandise likely to drive traffic on these key days.
3) Beyond BBQs on Memorial Day. Memorial Day 2013 saw a 73% increase in traffic and a 59% increase in sales over a typical Monday (our data did not include the grocery segment). However, traffic the following Saturday dropped 16%, compared to an average Saturday. Retailers should shift non-essential activities away from the “must-win” days of Memorial Day weekend to the softer shopping weekend immediately to follow.
4) Dads’ gifts bought on Friday. Last June, the week leading up to Father’s Day saw a lift in traffic, conversion, and sales, peaking on Friday with a 32% sales increase over a typical Friday. This surge of sustained sales indicated a clear mission among shoppers seeking Father’s Day gifts. Retailers should capitalize on these highly motivated consumers. Stores (or departments) offering concentrations of merchandise for men should staff for optimal service.
To learn more about retailer performance and trends during the 2013 spring season, see the news release or contact us.