Sneak Preview: Holiday Season 2023 Retail Sales

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Black Friday and Cyber Monday are behind us.  A lot of shopping and feasting still remains.  But Street Fight wants to glimpse what retail sales have seen so far and what you might expect in the shopping and eating days until the end of 2023.

What’s especially interesting is that in-person shopping seemed to take an upturn this year, with 76.2 million people shopping in stores on Black Friday, which is up from 72.9 million in 2022.

But people also used that day to shop online. A whopping 90.6 million people took to their phones and other devices that day, up from 87.2 million in 2022.

Cyber Monday retails sales appear to be down (73 million in 2023 from 77 million in 2022).

(All stats are based on this report, but other sources confirmed as well.)

The reality may be that consumers have integrated online shopping into their buying pattern, so having a special day to shop is more of a PR gimmick these days than it was when Cyber Monday launched in 2005. The omnichannel consumer is real.

We’ve even seen commercials this year promoting the benefits of BOPIS (buy-online-pick-up-in-store).

So, what can MULO (multi-location) retailers do in the remaining shopping days?

  • Keep those bargains coming! Consumers always look for deals, but now that savvy retailers are one-upping each other and shoppers have a virtually unlimited supply of comparison shopping tools, you need to remain competitive.
  • Utilize all forms of targeted advertising to bring your goodies into consumers’ day-to-day scrolling behavior. Stay on top of analytics — tracking both inventory and shopping behavior. The beauty of online advertising is that you can make on-the-fly spending decisions.
  • Watch out for the Grinch! Losses from retail theft are higher than ever. Although no retailer has the solution, many of them are working on both human and AI ways to beat the thieves.
  • Dedicate resources within your organization to focus on upcoming holidays, too. Don’t get so caught up in the holiday shopping frenzy that you’re unprepared for Valentine’s Day, Mother’s and Father’s Day, and other seasonal opportunities.
  • If you operate a C-store business, make sure that visitors who are on the road are finding what they need (besides fuel and clean restrooms). Here are the latest trends in convenience store products, services, and marketing. More than 130 million people will be on the road this season, and even homebound consumers frequent these retail stores!
  • Watch and learn from other MULO retailers — the wins and losses and brilliant new ideas (and old ideas, too…retro advertising seems to be having a moment in 2023. According to one study, this year’s holiday ads are 67% more effective than prior years.)
  • And, of course, stay on top of how you can incorporate AI into your business operations and marketing. We’ll continue to report on how MULO businesses are using it to improve performance. Santa and his elves are here to stay, but his workshop will soon be filled with AI-fueled inventory management systems, automated gift lists, and analytics about holiday sales.

Of course, continue to watch Street Fight for trends and tips that will make your MULO brand that much merrier — all year round!




Nancy A Shenker, senior editor with Street Fight, is a former big brand (Citibank, Mastercard, Reed Exhibitions) marketing strategist and leader. She has been featured in, the New York Times and Forbes.
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