Study: CMOs Predict Modest Increase in Holiday Sales
Chief marketing officers at 100 U.S. retailers are expecting a 4.2 percent increase in holiday season total store sales this year, which is in line with last year’s 4.1 percent increase, according to a the 10th annual survey from BDO USA, a professional services firm and consultancy.
“The modest year-over-year increase could be attributed to increasingly [frugal] consumers, who are a product of the recession and not consuming as much as they once did,” said Ted Vaughan, national leader and partner in the consumer business practice at BDO USA. “And because of this, consumers are favoring a more strategic and cost-conscious approach, no matter the season.”
More than 60 percent of retailers say sales will increase this year, which the study says could be due to broader economic improvement, including the recovery of the housing market and lower gasoline prices. However, there is cause for concern. Cheaper prices at the pump did not equate to higher back-to-school sales in August and September.
Forty-three percent of retail CMOs are forecasting an increase in gift card sales, up slightly from 38 percent in 2014, but still down from 61 percent expecting gift card sales growth in 2013. Meanwhile, the National Retail Federation’s 2015 Holiday Consumer Spending Survey poll puts gift cards at the top of the list of requested gifts for nine years running, with nearly 60 percent (58.8 percent) of consumers preferring a gift card over clothing or accessories (52.2 percent) and books, CDs, DVDs and video games (40.5 percent).
The BDO survey suggests consumers’ love for the latest technology will translate to holiday sales this year, with nearly 70 percent of retail CMOs anticipating that consumer electronics will again be the top-performing products. What’s more, 51 percent of respondents expect the electronics category to be the most discounted.