Consumers Won’t Be Holding Back in 2019

If you haven’t already noticed, the retail environment is in the midst of a drastic evolution. Modern consumers are pushing retailers to re-imagine the shopping experience like never before.

Data + Analysis + Marketing = Increased Engagement

Successful retailers have both omnichannel communications and multichannel operational strategies in place – like in-store checkout through mobile devices and data-driven merchandising. Brick-and-mortar stores that do not innovate will not survive, as clearly many traditional stores have closed their doors in the recent past.

These shifting consumer habits and quickly-advancing technologies are coinciding with our positive economic climate; one in which the strong labor market is stimulating spending that will continue to push the retail industry well into the black in 2019.

That is great news for many. If you are a retailer looking for the right partner for your omnichannel marketing, T/O is here to help. Our top-notch data analytics team will put together a segmented, targeted prospect list and help you increase engagement. Our data-driven print campaigns have been known to increase our customers’ ROI by 24% using strategic direct mail solutions.

We’ve pulled together some trends for those of you in the retail industry. Here’s what to expect in 2019.

Consumers aren’t holding back

Chain Store Age Magazine reports that core retail sales (excluding auto and gas segments) are expected to grow 4.7% in 2019. The tightening labor market is finally affecting wages in a positive way, so consumers feel more confident about spending their hard-earned dollars. Another factor is that average hourly earnings are projected to grow by 3.2% this year, up 0.4% from 2018.

Looking at another source, eMarketer is forecasting that 2019 total retail sales will grow 3.3% to $5.529 trillion, with ecommerce sales predicted to grow 15.1% to $605.3 billion. Either way you slice it, 2019 is looking good for retailers who create a better shopping experience.

That is all great news for this year, but the celebration might not last much past 2019. Interest rates will most likely keep rising, creating a softening effect, say experts from economy.com.  They are seeing signs of an impending correction that can’t be escaped. We are nearing the top of the hill, preparing for the downward slope into the “R” word – recession.

Signs to watchWe are safe for now, but to keep a close eye on the future. Here are a few things to monitor.  The political environment is key, and tariffs have a big impact. Watch for a trade war and hope we do not have one!

The next sign, and most obvious, is to pay attention to the Fed’s interest rate increases when they happen. The faster interest rates rise, the sooner you will see less spending in retail, and in many other sectors of course.

For now, I am going to ride the wave (see what I did there?), enjoy the spending bliss … and the opportunities to work with my clients, helping to create personalized, effective shopping experiences for all.