November 25, 2019

U.S. shoppers will shrug off economic uncertainty, CBRE forecasts

"Lightning-round" peak season is shortest since 2013, with Thanksgiving falling six days later than it did in 2018.

By DC Velocity Staff

Despite the rampant uncertainty of trade wars, impeachment proceedings, and a presidential election year, U.S. shoppers are continuing their undaunted march into the holiday season with open wallets and demanding expectations, a new report says.

Consumer spending is forecast to stay resilient despite uncertainty about international trade and a slowdown in global economic growth, the real estate services and investment firm CBRE Group Inc. said today.

E-commerce sales are expected to grow at a 11% to 14% clip this season, CBRE said in its annual "Holiday Retail Trends Guide." In response, retailers are rolling out the carpet for with four new shopping trends:

  • an earlier start to holiday promotions, 
  • new collaborations to shorten delivery windows and pare their cost, 
  • a proliferation of pop-up stores, and 
  • the growing popularity of resale goods as gifts.

"We're poised for a healthy holiday retail season; the U.S. economy remains solid, the job market is strong, and retailers appear prepared," Meghann Martindale, CBRE's Global Head of Retail Research, said in a release. "Shoppers are benefiting as retailers strive to serve them where, when and how they want. Advancements in delivery, pop-up retail and resale will be on full display this season."

Stores will make an earlier start on the holiday peak season this year because of a fluke of the calendar that shaves six days off the six-week season, thanks to Thanksgiving falling on Nov. 28 this year, compared to Nov. 22 in 2018. That crunch will create a "lightning-round season" that is the shortest since 2013, with only 26 shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, CBRE said.

In order to fit the full sales volume into fewer days, stores are getting creative, CBRE said. To handle provide same- or next-day delivery at a manageable cost, retailers are enticing customers to avoid home delivery, prompting them to pick up orders at a store or third-party location, including drug stores, craft-store chains, dollar stores, and even auto-parts stores.

"Shoppers have more options than ever this season, whether in stores, online or, increasingly, a combination of the two," Anthony Buono, CBRE Global President, Retail, said in a release. "The physical store remains the dominant venue for holiday shopping, especially as retailers improve the experience they offer customers with pop-up stores, on-site events, loyalty rewards and other incentives."

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