What Happened During U.S. Holidays 2017?

In 2017, U.S. Holiday sales saw strong growth of 5.5%, reaching $691.9 billion. The positive results were fueled by rising wages, strong employment rates and higher consumer confidence as sales grew more than expected and online saw an 11.5% increase to $138.4 billion. 

The majority of U.S. consumers started their Holiday shopping in November, while 40% started in October or earlier and 17% started in December. 61% of Holiday shoppers purchased their last gift during the week leading up to Christmas, making fast fulfillment a critical success factor for retailers. 

The 2017 Cyber Five period, the 5 shopping days starting on Thanksgiving Day and ending on Cyber Monday, recorded online sales growth of 21.4% with Cyber Monday seeing the highest online growth (26% vs. 2016), followed by Thanksgiving Day (22% vs. 2016).

Flexible fulfillment was still a top priority for consumers as 50% said free shipping was the most important reason to shop at a particular retailer, while 49% utilized click & collect services and 19% used expedited shipping.  

Did we see any new trends during this holiday season?

  • The growing influence of social media is playing a key role in consumers’ discovery and purchase decisions as they obsess about creating the most impressive sharable content (49% of consumers found Holiday gift inspiration from online research). 
    • Best-in-Class: Target partnered with social media influencers from the Home Décor, Entertainment, Fashion, and Events industries to share their top gift picks. 

  • As evidenced in our Store of the Future Report, ‘retailtainment’ remains a key factor in holiday excitement. 60% of consumers aged 18-24 years old wanted to receive gifts of experience and 33% planned to give them. This trend highlights the growing popularity of non-physical gifts that will drive the adoption of experiential elements inside retail stores. 

    • Best-in-Class: Walmart hosted events in its stores called “Toys That Rock”, “Parties That Rock”, and “Gifts That Rock”, in addition to Holiday helpers that were first introduced in 2016.

  • Digital gift assistants will increasingly become an essential part of consumers’ gift-buying journey using machine learning to provide recommendations and inspiration.  

    • Best-in-Class: Zalando partnered with Google to launch a gift guide assistant that allowed users to find the perfect gift through a conversation with a chatbot.

Planning for an unpredictable future is challenging. PlanetRetail RNG offers go to market intelligence to:

  • Understand the reinvention of the future store

  • Navigate tomorrow’s ecommerce landscape

  • Develop the capabilities needed to find growth in a digital world

For more information about how we can better help you navigate all stages of the shopper journey, please contact us by completing the “Contact us” form.

Add new comment

This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.