Despite record breaking volume on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, US Retail Sales figures reflect a slow start to the holiday season. However, Springboard Retail's customer data reveals that emerging brands and retailers are experiencing a significant holiday sales boost in spite of the weak national data.
Total seasonally adjusted retail and food service sales grew at a rate of 0.2% in November, trailing the 0.5% that economists were anticipating and reflecting a soft opening to the holiday season for the overall retail market. While Black Friday and Cyber Monday delivered record sales, Thanksgiving's positioning in November and tepid consumers led total sales for the month to miss expectations.
Overall Specialty Retail1 sales decreased 0.7% from October, but increased 0.4% when compared with November 2018. This represents the second monthly sales decline in the category in the past four months and is the largest decline in monthly sales in all of 2019. While October Specialty Retail sales were revised to reflect 0.1% growth instead of a previously estimated decline, the weakness in November is a potentially troubling start to the holiday season. Thanksgiving falling as late as it possibly can in November is believed to have had an impact, while the emphasis on electronics and toys during Black Friday and Cyber Monday may also be negatively impacting specialty categories like clothing and footwear.
Springboard Retail's customer base saw sales increase by 7.6% from October to November, significantly outperforming both the national retail and food services industry and the Specialty Retail category. This impressive sales growth reflects how the typical Springboard Retail customer is an emerging brand or retailer that is deploying an innovative omnichannel approach in order to thrive in today's competitive retail market.
Consumers are rewarding the brands and retailers that leverage sophisticated retail technology to deliver a customer experience that is differentiated when shopping in stores and unified when shopping across a range of digital channels. This data clearly reflects that the benefits of investing in the consumer experience are magnified for specialty retailers during the holiday season, when consumers focus their increased spending at the brands and retailers who make the gift buying experience as enjoyable as possible.
1We define the Specialty Retail category as comprised of total sales in the following categories as defined by the US Census Bureau: Clothing and Clothing Accessories Stores, Furniture and Home Furnishings Stores, Health and Personal Care Stores, Sporting Goods, Hobby, Musical Instrument, and Book Stores, and Miscellaneous Store Retailers.
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Topics: Business of Retail