Another challenge for retailers: Holiday shoppers increasingly motivated by discounts this year

retail-shoppingby Dan Rafter

Another holiday shopping season has come to an end. But how merry was it for retailers?

Pretty merry, according to the latest figures from the National Retail Federation. The federation said that holiday shoppers spent more this year than last as they rushed to find those perfect gifts.

The federation predicted that holiday sales will hit an impressive $655.8 billion this year. That’s an increase of 3.6 percent from last year.

But the news isn’t uniformly good for retailers. Yes, shoppers spent more. But retailers had to offer significant discounts to lure the shoppers.

DynamicAction analyzed $4 billion in online transactions in November, and found that 67 percent of these orders included some sort of discount promotion. Last November, only 38 percent of online transactions included discounts. The National Retail Federation reported that the average consumer spent about $289 over the four-day weekend of Black Friday and Thanksgiving. That was down from about $299 a year earlier.

The reason for the drop? The retail federation attributed it to discounts. Retailers offered so many deep discounts, that consumers spent less even though they often ordered more items than they did a year ago.

It’s clear, then, that consumers are hungrier than ever for discounts. It’s equally clear that retailers need to provide them if they expect their sales — either online or at brick-and-mortar stores — to continue to rise.

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