D-stores to discounters: US shoppers are moving

US shoppers will move from department stores to discounters en masse this coming holiday season, according to a survey by Conlumino.

Walmart, the world’s biggest physical retailer, will be shopped by at least of 69 per cent of shoppers this holiday season; And 59 per cent will buy on Amazon – 11 percentage points higher than one year ago..

From a survey of over 10,000 US shoppers, Conlumino is predicting significant churn with shoppers shifting where they buy their non-grocery holiday products.

Most discount and value players are likely to see shopper numbers rise this holiday, with TJX leading the pack in terms of growth.

In contrast, most department stores will see holiday shopper numbers decline, with Sears leading the pack in terms of losses. The only major department store forecast to grow shoppers is JC Penney.

An interest in beauty this holiday season will help both Ulta and Walgreens boost shopper share. The former is aided by a strong program of expansion, while the latter is aided by improvements to the beauty and cosmetics offer in its stores. After Amazon, Ulta is the retailer with the second highest forecast customer growth rate.

Apple and Best Buy are both predicted to suffer declines in customer numbers, concluded Conlumino.

“Fashion is a mixed bag with a number of struggling players like Banana Republic, Aeropostale,  and American Apparel likely to lose share of shoppers. However, sporting retailers look set to make gains with Dick’s, Under Armour, and Lululemon all forecast to grow customer numbers. Fast fashion players like H&M will also make gains.”

Conlumino CEO Neil Saunders says while consumers will spend more this holiday season, where they shop is shifting and not all retailers are likely to benefit from the growth.

“Indeed, there are a number who look set to have a fairly bleak time of it.

“The patterns for holiday shopping reflect the ongoing transformation of the retail sector, with a distinct shift to value and discounters as consumers try to maximise what they get for their dollar. Online players like Amazon also stand to make gains, thanks to their convenience, sharp prices and broad ranges,” he says.

“The main losers are the department stores – which once dominated the holiday season. Many are struggling to create compelling shopping experiences and are therefore getting overlooked by holiday consumers in search of excitement and inspiration. The one exception is JC Penney, which deserves credit for its enhancement of stores and the integration of offers such as Sephora.”

Saunders says gifting plans and preferences for this year also influence the numbers.

“Beauty is an area of strong growth and this has benefitted retailers like Ulta, which will cap off a fantastic year of performance.  On the negative side, electricals is a less popular category this year – thanks to a weaker release cycle of new products – which has dragged down shopper interest in Best Buy and Apple.

“The numbers demonstrate the ease with which consumers can shop around and switch where they buy things over the holidays. Overall, they paint a picture of a competitive and very fluid retail market in which getting things wrong means paying the price in terms of lost shoppers.”


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