We’ve made it through the end of another year, another holiday retail season and another decade. 2019 may go down as the year the retail apocalypse came to fruition, with chains like Barney’s, Forever 21, Payless and American Apparel shutting down, contributing to the more than 9,300 stores expected to close by the end of 2019, according to Business Insider. Despite this, estimates for the holiday season are forecast at $143.7 billion, a 14.1 percent increase from last year, according to Adobe.
It’s go time for retailers as the holiday season kicks into high gear. With Black Friday the last day of November, there are six fewer shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, so retailers have started Black Friday deals even earlier than normal and have even more on the line. According to Cowen retail analyst Oliver Chen, “"We're in a very strong consumer environment. If you're having difficulties, what does it mean for the future?" Morning Consult Economic Intelligence currently holds at 110.2 — close to its highest measure in a year and above the 100 line that divides positive from negative impressions of economic outlook.
But before holiday shopping officially begins, many other retailers made headlines this month. Alibaba’s Singles Day on November 11 beat Amazon’s Prime Day sales within an hour of being live, generating $13 billion in sales. Reports came out that luxury reseller The RealReal had sold counterfeit merchandise, calling into question its authentication process. And lastly, LVMH announced it would purchase Tiffany for $16.2 billion, the largest ever in the luxury sector, giving LVMH more access to the US market and helping Tiffany in Europe and China.
Here’s what else caught our eye in November:
Once again the retail industry is gearing up for the holiday season. Wondering what kind of holiday season it will be? The National Retail Federation expects holiday retail sales during November and December to increase between 3.8 percent and 4.2 percent over 2018 to a total of between $727.9 billion and $730.7 billion. PwC’s 2019 Holiday Outlook reports that Black Friday is now more symbolic than significant with almost 50% of shoppers waiting until after Black Friday Week to complete their shopping.
What’s notable is that the winners this holiday season and beyond will be the ones that are combining technology, personalization and in-store services in new ways to drive customer acquisition and increased customer lifetime value. As we approach 2020, it’s about the ability to meet customers wherever they are, in-store, online and in-home.
Stories about technology, personalization and in-store services that caught our attention this month:
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Advertising Week has become a fixture on the New York conference calendar in September, attracting brands, marketers and technology providers as well as retailers and celebrities. This year there were more than 100,000 attendees, 350 sessions and 1,200 speakers. KWI’s Chief Customer Officer, Frank Weil, curated and emceed the Retail track on day one of this four-day conference. With a focus on retail and direct to consumer (DTC brands), Advertising Week’s Retail track featured sessions on modern commerce in the digital world and sought to understand how retail evolved the ways brands sell, and how has it changed the way consumers buy.