With the smell of fall in the air, the holiday season has officially begun and that means one thing for retailers: consumer spending. And it’s good news for them as well – according to PwC’s 2016 Holiday Outlook, holiday spending is expected to reach its highest point since the Great Recession, increasing 10 percent compared with the 2015 holiday season. It’s not all good news though, as consumers have indicated they plan to shop at fewer physical stores. The challenge for store-based retailers will be to leverage their distinctive advantages to stay competitive.
Below are some big trends driving the 2016 holiday shopping season outlined by PwC’s Holiday Outlook:
- Consumers are opening their wallets: Shoppers will likely spend an average of $1,121 each.
- Hipsters spending more: Mobile, college-educated millennials will likely spend $500 more than consumers overall, with a third of their holiday budget spent on themselves.
- Gen Z like stuff: Unlike Millennials who prefer experiences, Gen Z like their tangible items. However, ads don’t influence their buying decisions. They prefer to make purchases based off of product user reviews.
- Millennial parents are first-purchasers: Millennial parents start shopping earlier than consumers overall and enjoy it more (75 percent versus 61 percent).
- Consumers want easy buying: Customers want fast and easy checkout experiences in-store.
- Consumers want help: One key draw to in-store shopping is knowledgeable sales associates to help find products and explain features.
- Shopping starts early: 64 percent of consumers indicated they will begin holiday shopping before the start of Black Friday week. And 29 percent will have completed most of it by then.
- What brand does matter: The product brand matters to 80 percent of consumers – whether established household names, local businesses, independent retailers, or new entrants. 
In 2015, the National Retail Federation found that poor inventory control and promotional issues were the top two issues that hindered 2015 holiday sales. This holiday season, drive increased shopper activation and sell-through with flawless execution. Be ready for the crowd and capitalize on this predicted holiday spending. With the Gigwalk Enterprise solution, you can make sure your execution is shining bright by checking on products and places that matter most, seeing gaps and non-compliance in real-time, then closing the loop with verifiable solutions. Here’s to flawless retail execution this holiday season!
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