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Online retailers biggest winners this holiday season

In a survey of over 10,000 American consumers, Conlumino has found that this year’s holiday season will be one of churn, with shoppers shifting where they buy their non-grocery holiday products.

Online retailers stand to benefit from consumers’ willingness to shop around, thanks to their convenience, sharp prices and broad ranges, according to Conlumino’s holiday retail report.

Case in point: Amazon had the biggest gains in shopper share, with 59 per cent of people saying they expect to buy from the e-commerce giant this holiday season, up 11.31 percentage points from last year.

Other winners in the retail sector are discount and value players. Off-price department store TJMaxx increased its share of shoppers by 3.35 percentage points, while sister brand Home Goods saw a jump of 2.38 percentage points.

Beauty retailers will also benefit from heightened interest this holiday season. Ulta Beauty, a direct competitor to Sephora, had the second highest increase in shopper share, after Amazon, with over 4.22 percentage points.

The top destination overall remains Walmart, with 69 per cent of holiday shoppers saying they plan to visit the retailer. Walmart benefits from its ubiquitous physical presence and large number of existing customers who regularly shop for grocery products and are likely to pick up some non-grocery holiday products as well, according to Conlumino.

Department stores showed the sharpest losses in shopper share. Conlumino points to the lack of compelling shopping experiences as the reason so many department stores are bleeding customers. The biggest loser in this segment is Sears, which dropped 2.76 percentage points compared to last year. The falls of other stores like Macy’s and Nordstrom are less severe.

JC Penney is the exception to this trend, with slightly more people saying they will shop there this holiday season. The integration of offers such as Sephora is a key factor in JC Penney’s success, according to the retail research agency.

Fashion meanwhile is a mixed bag, with Banana Republic, Aeropostale and American Apparel likely to lose share of shoppers, while sporting retailers, including Under Armour and Lululemon, forecast to grow customer numbers. Fast fashion players like H&M will also make gains, according to the survey.

“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,” Neil Saunders, CEO of Conlumino, said about the survey results.

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