Analysis Reveals Higher Conversion Rates Fail to Compensate for Traffic Decline, Leaving Brick-and-Mortar Holiday Sales Down Year-over-Year SAN JOSE, Calif.—January 4, 2012—Holiday shopping ended disappointingly for specialty stores in 2011, during which a slow Black Friday weekend set a pace that held up until Christmas, according to retail business intelligence provider RetailNext. Even some encouraging post-Christmas spikes failed to make up the gap compared to last year’s holiday season, the company reports in its RetailNext Insights: Holiday Shopping 2011 analysis. In its RetailNext Insights, the company analyzes more than 40 U.S. retail store chains’ performance, examining the in-store behaviors of more than 20 million shoppers between Thanksgiving weekend and December 31st.
The company’s analysis shows that a significant drop in traffic compared to last year was the primary contributor to slow sales in physical stores, despite the fact that many retailers increased conversion among those who did come to their stores.
Key findings include:
- Overall December traffic in specialty stores was down 4% over 2010. A flat conversion rate left sales down 5% year over year.
- December 26th traffic was up 27% with sales at a 24% increase. Conversion was flat for the day with a 4% dip in average sale. Some of the increased traffic on the 26th negatively affected the 27th where specialty retailers saw a 10% traffic drop and a 13% drop in sales.
- The top converting days in December were the 15th and the three days before Christmas. Strong performance on the 15th appears to have been driven by retailers running sales, as evidenced by a 5% drop in average transaction value on that day.
- December 24th landing on a Saturday was a challenge for specialty retailers. Traffic and sales both dropped 15% over December 24, 2010, with a minor 0.4% increase in conversion failing to offset the loss in traffic. Consumer social activities may have played into this drop in traffic.
- A somewhat strong December 23 (sales up 4% over 2010 with a slight increase in average transaction value) did manage to close some of this gap.
- The three-day after-Christmas period showed a 5% traffic increase for specialty stores, compared to last year, but only a 1% increase in sales due to lower conversion rates.
- The first two Sundays of December represent a big opportunity for specialty retailers in 2012, as they were high traffic days with low conversion rates – both in 2011 and 2010.
“Even though specialty stores as a category maintained conversion rates at the same level as last year, a large drop in overall traffic led to a miss in sales figures compared to 2010. While e-commerce and mobile saw their highest usage ever, the overwhelming majority of holiday buying still occurs in physical stores, making it a tall order for these online channels to close that gap,” said Shelley E. Kohan, vice president of retail consulting at RetailNext. “The downturn in traffic, combined with a flat overall conversion rate, suggests that shoppers came to the store better researched than in previous years and looking for specific values.”
About RetailNext Insights: Holiday Shopping 2011
The RetailNext Insights: Holiday Shopping 2011 findings are based on data analyzed from more than 40 U.S. retail chains across 48 states, including specialty stores (apparel, accessories, jewelry and watches, home and office, audio and technology, travel and health, and fitness) and travel retail (U.S. airport stores. To learn more, download the RetailNext Insights: Holiday Shopping 2011 infographic or follow the company on Twitter @RetailNext.
RetailNext (formerly BVI Networks) is the leader in real-time in-store monitoring, enabling retailers and manufacturers to collect, analyze and visualize in-store data. The company uses best-in-class video analytics, on-shelf sensors, along with data from point-of-sale and other business systems, to automatically inform retailers about how people engage in their stores. The highly scalable RetailNext products easily integrate with promotional calendars, staffing systems, and weather services to analyze how internal and external factors impact customer shopping patterns – providing store operations executives with the ability to identify opportunities for growth, execute changes, and measure success.
Headquartered in San Jose, CA, RetailNext tracks more than 20 million shoppers per month by collecting data from more than 15,000 sensors in retail stores, and is a growing global brand currently operating in 17 countries. For more information, call +1-888-609-5877. Contact Liza Colburn +1-781-562-0111 firstname.lastname@example.org