CE and major appliance
sales will increase 1.2 percent year
over year this holiday season, but foot
traffic in stores will drop 4.9 percent
compared with last year.
That is the prediction of Shopper-
Trak, a provider of retail foot-traffic
counting, and business analytic services.
The categories’ moderate outlooks
can be attributed to the limited number
of blockbuster electronic products
being introduced this season,
the company said. Value-conscious
consumers are also increasingly using
the Internet to stretch their dollars
by shopping at online outlets with potential
for deep discounts, or are researching
large, premium-priced purchases.
As a result, when consumers do
walk into stores, they already have a
purchasing strategy and are less likely
to browse. This will account for significant
foot-traffic losses this holiday
season, ShopperTrak said.
The company predicts that despite
the struggling economy, overall national
retail sales will rise 3 percent
during November and December, although
foot traffic in stores will decrease
Holiday sales and traffic historically
account for approximately 20 percent
of annual retail activity, although the
figure is nearly twice that within CE.
With U.S. Gross Domestic Product
growth disappointing in the first half
of 2011, the forecast for holiday retail
sales and traffic is a key marker of the
nation’s economic health.
ShopperTrak’s holiday sales prediction
follows 19 consecutive months of
year-over-year U.S. retail sales growth.
The expected increase is moderate
compared with the 2010 holiday season’s
4.1 percent sales increase over
Conversely, ShopperTrak expects
foot traffic to continue decreasing
through the end of 2011 due to
high unemployment rates and gas
prices that are 33 percent over last
year’s levels. So far this year, shoppers
have visited an average of 3.1
stores per shopping trip, down from
3.2 per shopping trip in 2010 and far
less than the four to five stores visited
prior to the recession in early 2008.
Converting fewer numbers of shoppers
to buyers has never been more
important for retailers who understand
this critical retail health indicator,
the company said.
“The persistently high unemployment
and fuel rates along with consumers’
conservative purchasing attitudes
will affect spending this holiday
season more than in recent years,”
said ShopperTrak co-founder Bill Martin.
“Every shopper in a store will be
more valuable than last year, and retail
stores should be ready to convert their
holiday shoppers into sales.”