Holiday retail sales for 2011 are expected to increase 2.8% to $465.6 billion, according to the National Retail Federation, lower growth than the 5.2% increase in sales from the 2010 holiday season. Last year, the increase in visits to online retailers was higher than the overall lift in sales as consumers researched products and store information as well as purchased holiday gifts. Last year, visits to the Retail 500 (excludes auctions, classifieds and rentals) increased during the kickoff of the holiday season, the weeks with Thanksgiving & Black Friday and Cyber Monday, increased 8% and 11% respectively. As we head into the holiday season, recent economic indicators like consumer confidence have declined, causing concern about potential spending power. However, traffic to online retailers has grown with visits up 10% year-over-year for the week ending October 23, 2011.
One driver behind the increased visits to the Retail 500 is the audience, which over-indexes against the population for the most affluent Mosaic Groups: Power Elite (over-indexes for household incomes of $125k and up), Flourishing Families (over-indexes for household incomes between $75k and $250k), Booming with Confidence (over-indexes for household incomes over $75k), Suburban Style (over-indexes for household incomes of $75k to $175k). These 4 Mosaic Groups represented 28% of the visits to the Retail 500 for the 12 weeks ending October 22, 2011. While there may be anxiety around consumers’ ability to spend during the holidays, purchases from affluent segments may help offset the decreased buying power of those with lower household incomes.