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Christmas Like It’s 1999

John Gaffney |

Every year since it has been a retailing force, Amazon has published a list of “fun facts.” This year that list contained some nice nuggets about its continued dominance, but one of them seemed to freeze-frame the bipolar behavior of the global consumer. This best-selling home audio item was a cheap Jensen turntable (for vinyl records) with built-in speakers. Number two: A high-end Yamaha receiver built for Apple’s wireless AirDrop system.

Go figure. Drones vs. instant film. DVDs vs. downloads. Hardcovers vs. eBooks. It will be a long time before the dust settles on Holiday 2015 sales analysis. That’s because the cross-currents still blowing from consumer shopping behavior will be stirring well into 2016. They went retro, they went futuristic. They went to stores, they went online. But above all, they came to buy, which translates into about a 7.9 percent bump over 2014, according to MasterCard SpendingPulse.

As we predicted in our Retail CMO’s Guide to the Omnishopper report, shopping technology dominated the headlines. Consumers are beyond tech-savvy; they are tech fearless. It was proved by mobile numbers that surpassed even the most ambitious prognosticators. Amazon said 70 percent of its customers placed an order via mobile during the holidays. Wider numbers will need to wait, but all signs point to dramatically higher mobile purchases.

Also, while eCommerce jumped 20 percent over 2014, according to SpendingPulse, the strategy of embracing the consumer rather than the channel showed signs of success. According to RetailNext, Amazon took 35 percent of all Black Friday eCommerce purchases. However, the next four sellers were traditional retailers: Best Buy, Macy’s, WalMart and Nordstrom’s.

Finally, the shipping risk. and other retailers struggled with hitting shipping deadlines. Depending on who you listen to, it was either a function of inventory scarcity or an overload at FedEx and UPS. Shipping delays affected order online/in-store pickups as well showing that shipping is a major concern as the Omnishopper continues her journey.


Topics: Affluent

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