Blog of laurent Dusausoy, it's all about branding and brand equity

Blog of laurent Dusausoy, it's all about branding and  brand equity

Digical® retail and why stores matter - Report from Bain & Company

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Although e-commerce sales are growing at double-digit rates, the reality is that 90% of retail sales still happen in stores. In this issue, we look at the holiday shopping season to date and explore the evolving role of stores in a Digical® world. We examine how the most successful retailers are blending the best aspects of digital and physical to deliver better experiences and better economics this holiday season.


Moderate growth in November led by digital sales

Bain estimates that the combined growth of in-store and e-commerce retail sales for November hit 3%, with online sales growing at mid-double-digit rates:1


  • Early data from the US Census Bureau suggest that November in-store sales increased 1.8% over November 2014. The Census Bureau reported strong results (4% to 5% year over year) for home and home improvement and sporting goods and hobby retailers, and negative growth for both electronics and clothing retailers. Consumers continued to shift spending to nontraditional retail categories—cars and eating out—a trend that is weakening, though, as we get deeper into the holiday season. Year-over-year growth for motor vehicle and parts dealers was 4.3% in November vs. 6.5% in October. Similarly, sales at restaurants grew by 5.4% in November vs. 7.6% in October relative to last year.
  • MasterCard estimates that total e-commerce sales in November increased by 16% over the same period last year. Cyber Monday in particular saw a record-breaking $3 billion in revenue—driven in large part by growth in mobile sales of more than 50%. Mobile sales, including purchases using smartphones and tablets, accounted for more than a quarter of e-commerce sales on Cyber Monday, up from 20% last year. It’s important to note, though, that Cyber Monday fell on December 1 in 2014; it fell on November 30 this year. So year-over-year growth estimates for November inclusive of Cyber Monday 2014 are closer to 12%.

Holiday shopping tracker results: Shoppers are two-thirds of the way there

This year, Bain has partnered with Vision Critical to follow a panel of consumers as they shop for the holidays.2 Our panelists are making progress on their lists: Most completed an additional 20% of their shopping in the two weeks following Black Friday and are now two-thirds of the way there (see Figure 1). Our "online fanatics" continue to lead the charge, with more than 30% having completed all of their holiday buying. While our "sticklers for stores" made the most progress over the five-day Thanksgiving weekend, to date only 20% report that they’ve completed their shopping, and almost 15% have yet to start. Research suggests consumers are delaying their holiday shopping this year relative to previous years. Of those who still need to complete their shopping, 20% are holding out for last-minute discounts.


Consumers spend more online during the holidays than they do the rest of the year. Last year, online penetration averaged 10% of all retail sales from January through October, and 12% during November and December. Our Vision Critical panelists confirm this shopping behavior. Both "sticklers for stores" and "omnichannel shoppers" have done a greater percentage of their shopping online this holiday season than they typically do in non-holiday periods. "Online fanatics" continue to make more than 80% of their purchases online.

Stores remain in the spotlight this holiday season

Although online penetration spikes during the holiday season, the reality is that nearly 90% of retail sales still happen in stores. This year, Bain worked with Foursquare to understand how retail foot traffic changes during the holiday months.3 Our findings indicate that consumers go to stores more during the holidays, particularly in the two weeks leading up to Christmas Day


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