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4 Retail Trends We Can Expect This Holiday Season


Next month marks the start of the holiday season, and this year sales between the months of November and December are projected to surpass that of 2015 by 3.3%, CBRE reported in its US Retail Holiday Trends report.

As the retail landscape continues to shift in favor of e-commerce, shoppers have come to expect a seamless hybrid experience that includes physical, digital and social interactions with their favorite brands. Taking this into account, CBRE head of retail research in the Americas Melina Cordero discusses with Bisnow the four retail trends we’re likely to see this holiday season.

1) Online Spending To Break Records

CBRE Head of Retail Research Melina Cordero

Total holiday sales are expected to reach $885B this year, and CBRE cites an eMarketer forecast for online sales to account for 10.7% of the total. This is a 17.2% gain compared to last year. "The majority of holiday sales are still happening in stores, and there are a lot of reasons for that,” Melina tells us. “For one, a huge amount of sales and promotions take place in stores, driving traffic there. Also, with the amount of last-minute shopping that takes place during the holidays, at a certain point it’s too late to get the delivery online.”

2) Rogue Retailing To Gain Momentum

Rogue retailing—nontraditional brick-and-mortar formats like pop-up shops and food trucks—will grow increasingly prevalent. As retailers try to get more shoppers into physical locations, rogue retail is a less expensive way to expand their footprint and product offerings. “It brings something new to the mix, something exciting,” Melina says. 

3) Innovations In Delivery


As traditional retailers adapt to compete with e-commerce stores, industrial investment in delivery infrastructure has skyrocketed. The goal is to be able to compete with the speed and efficiency of large online players like Retailers are even partnering with third-party players like Uber and Lyft to fill gaps in their distribution networks. Melina says retailers are likely to ramp up these pilot programs this year.

4. Retail Returns To Decline

One major problem area for retailers is the return of online purchases. “The rate is really high, especially for online orders, and it’s costing retailers a lot of money in free return shipping, lost goods and a lot of lost revenue,” Melina tells us. E-commerce returns typically peak during the holiday season, and in 2014 the National Retail Federation estimated $260B in revenue was lost in returned merchandise. To combat this, retailers are hoping to minimize return rates by offering more robust product info and added virtual sizing and fitting tech.