Consumers moved the goalposts for retailers again: Price is now even more of a consideration for consumers.
Now it’s the end of 2013 its a good time for retailers in particular to reflect on the year especially the last quarter which is the most important one for UK retailers with spending at its highest. Since Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales shot up for online retailers such as Amazon which had its busiest day ever on Cyber Monday – up 39 percent on last year’s peak day.
The performance of the retail industry is seen as an indicator of the wider economy and the strength of consumer spending. Since the recession began in 2007 growth has been hard to achieve as shoppers kept to tight budgets.
Verdict, a leading authority in retailing forecast retail expenditure was predicted to grow by 2.2% in the last quarter of 2013, which is the strongest growth since 2007, driven by rising consumer confidence, with consumers spending £88.5bn. Although all sectors were predicted to grow, the first time since Q4 2004, the overall winner is online which increased to £11.6bn, up 12% on last year.
Online Christmas sales are set to top £890m according to according to e-tail analysts IMRG.
As Christmas approaches levels of customer satisfaction with the online shopping experience improved compared to in-store shopping with price and a range of products among the key benefits according to a recent eDigital Research survey. Although improved satisfaction is mainly down to the lack of queues (53%), price (51%) and the range of products available online (51%) are seen as key benefits of ecommerce.
UK consumers have moved the goalposts for retailers vying to retain their loyalty in the five years since the recession began, according to a Customer Satisfaction poll from Verdict.
Price has unsurprisingly become more of a consideration in choice of retailer compared to pre-recession 2008, especially in essential sectors such as food, clothing & footwear and personal care. But Verdict’s customer satisfaction poll results can reveal that retailers must pay attention to factors such as range, service and convenience to ensure they stand out in their sectors.
Online offers strong price competition across a number sectors but this is particularly a challenge for books and music & video retailers, the former of which will see online overtake bricks & mortar in terms of sales in 2013. Music & video is already dominated by online, and the last remaining specialist on the high street, HMV, will face a struggle and is likely to close more stores.
It will be interesting to see what happens post-Christmas but the indications are that its even more important for retailers to monitor market conditions in real time and be able to implement changes as needed, whenever and wherever you are.