Brick-and-mortar set to strike back in Holiday 2018, say NPD advisors

On the heels of its 2018 Holiday Purchase Intentions Survey foretelling the rise of blended retail, NPD has surveyed six of its industry experts to get their insights on the season, revealing predictions of a brick-and-mortar comeback, a strong performance in the fragrance category and the continued dominance of athleisure.


Brick-and-mortar retail is expected to hold its own in Holiday 2018 - Instagram: @mallofamerica
 
According to NPD’s industry advisors, e-commerce is set to make strong gains in the US over the holiday period as online retailers continue to reduce prices and increase convenience through improved shipping services.
 
Nonetheless, primarily physical retailers are also expected to hold their own this year, doubling down on in-store experiences and events, as well as on cross-platform integration through services which allow consumers to buy online and pick up in store, for example, or to use a branded app to enhance their physical shopping experience.
 
“Most brick-and-mortar channels will hold their ground this holiday,” explains NPD chief industry advisor for retail Marshal Cohen. “Traditional retailers are upping their in-store game by offering more efficiency, value, and entertaining shopping experiences in stores.”
 
NPD’s advisors also predict that, thanks to unemployment being at an all-time low in the US and rising consumer confidence, Holiday 2018 will see consumers spending more than ever. Furthermore, they pointed out that the calendar works in retailers’ favor this year: Christmas falls on a Tuesday, allowing for four full weeks of shopping in December.
 
In terms of what kind of gifts holiday shoppers will be looking to spend their money on, NPD highlighted innovation as an important factor for making a product stand out from the crowd this year.
 
Larissa Jenson, NPD executive director and industry analyst for beauty, pointed out that this is especially true in the fragrance segment. “One driver for fragrance this holiday will be new brands,” she said highlighting that over a third of full-year fragrance revenues are raised in December.
 
“The success of new launches during holiday can make or break the category, but given the
strong performance we’ve seen so far in 2018, we anticipate fragrance will end the year strong,” she concluded.
 
However, NPD was also keen to emphasize that innovation does not mean empty novelty, predicting that practical gifts will win out over what Cohen described as “nifty giftys” in Holiday 2018.
 
This prioritization of more pragmatic wares will even be reflected in the apparel category, where “athleisure will continue to outpace fashion apparel and footwear,” according to Matt Powel, NPD VP and senior industry advisor for sports.
 
“Consumers are looking for versatile, multipurpose products. Athleisure’s ability to move from sport to style is the perfect gift,” he went on to explain.
 
Rounding out NPD’s experts’ predictions were the expectation that value will be prioritized over discounts this year, with greater attention being paid to the quality of products, while experience gifts will also continue to gain ground against things.
 
All of the insights from NPD’s advisors are collected in the “8 Expectations for Holiday 2018” report, available for download on the industry analyst’s website.

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