The Christmas shopping surge is upon us in retail stores nationwide. Sales performance during this season is crucial for businesses, especially those with brick and mortar locations, and the continued adoption of social networks for customer product recommendations would seem to be a driving force in the year-over-year growth of U.S. holiday spending.
Check out the #1 most desired gift this year in the infographic below… that’s quite a surprise, isn’t it?
In 2012, holiday shopping accounted for nearly 20% of all retail industry sales. Our spending domestically has been on a continued uptrend for the last several holiday seasons; this has been one factor in the ability of businesses to take on an additional 720,000 workers during this time of year.
Black Friday, perhaps the worst of the faux holidays and a day that promises to ruin the Thanksgiving tradition in America, has seen steadily increasing numbers despite the relatively neutral economic forecast of recent months. Thankfully this hasn’t affected Christmas tree sales, with nearly 25 million of them being strapped to car rooftops everywhere last year.
As for online sales, there looks to be a solid boom for this holiday season, as Thanksgiving Day saw a 60% increase in online spending versus the year prior, crossing the billion dollar mark. With a healthy 29% increase forecasted for 2013, we can assume our favorite local malls will still be packed with frenzied shoppers hunting for discounts.
But the crowds aren’t just in stores — they’re on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, sharing subtle and often not-so-subtle product references and recommendations. Word of mouth is the strongest form of marketing, according to this infographic, and we’d have to agree. If you consider how we make our choices when the time comes to brave the crowds and gather gifts for our families, where do you often get insight on what to buy and where to buy it?
The growth of mobile apps, combined with the vast reach of social networks, means that recommendations from friends, family and peers can often be found in your Facebook newsfeed, or even in the background of one of your Instagram photos, and they are a strong force in your decision making process. 80% of purchase decisions are based on the mentions and recommendations of others.
And when was the last time you saw a TV commercial that didn’t have a hashtag associated with it? Conservative retail analysts feel that social media’s role in retail conversion is not accurately measurable, if at all. Recent insight into social activity around the 2013 holiday season points to a very different conclusion; on the whole, nearly 7 million tweets this year mentioned at least 1 of the top 10 most desired products for this Christmas.
Let us know in the comments below where you’ll be doing your holiday shopping this season. What’s on your list?