Spring has finally sprung for US retailers
Consumer shopping activity was relatively flat in March 2015 compared to the same month in 2014, despite having clearly rebounded from a more lethargic February, according to a retail benchmarking report from location analytics firm Euclid Analytics.
The report measured data from tens of millions of domestic shopping sessions to reveal that retail traffic had declined less than expected year-over-year due to extra holiday shopping in March as a result of an early-April Easter in 2015.
In-store engagement improved significantly year-over-year as consumers desire to spend re-emerged with the sunshine after a subdued winter.
Euclid believes that the benchmark results suggest a positive outlook for industry revenues this year, and estimates sales growth in the following retail verticals:
- 0.8% growth year-over-year in general merchandise, apparel, furniture and other (GAFO) retail sales;
- 1.1% decline year-over-year in clothing and apparel sales;
- 2.9% growth year-over-year in general merchandise sales.
Among the report's key findings surrounding shopper behaviour metrics:
- Shopper traffic declined one percent compared to the same month last year due to the secular trends driving shopping activity toward other channels. However, warm weather and an early Easter mitigated the year-over-year decline and generated a nice rebound from February.
- Store-front conversion increased slightly year-over-year as more targeted shopping trips were seen from Easter gift shopping.
- Duration increased a massive thirty-three percent from last year as the favourable macro-economic environment finally began translating into increased spending.
- Repeat visits decreased two percent year-over-year due to a lack of need to return to the physical location. More March purchases were accomplished in fewer trips.
- The best shopping day of the month was Tuesday 10th March 2015. The 10th experienced significantly higher storefront conversion than last year and very strong average duration. Shoppers were much more engaged than expected during these middle-of-the-week shopping visits.
- On the other hand, Thursday 5th March 2015 was the worst shopping day of the month. The 5th experienced lower than expected traffic and abnormally high bounce rates. Despite uncrowded stores, shoppers still did not find the experience they were looking for on this day of the week.