Consumer Bravery & Voice Apps ‘Call’ for 2018 Sales to Rise


Consumer Bravery & Voice Apps ‘Call’ for 2018 Sales to Rise

by Amy Lignor


Yes, the truth is already out there. Whether you follow Kiplinger’s reports and forecasts, MarketWatch, or any one of the slew of companies that follow consumer spending, it is relatively easy to see what the upcoming fourth quarter retail sales will be for the U.S. of A. Not to mention, how the holiday season will go down in the record books as we usher out yet another year.

Cuts to personal tax rates have, overall, boosted the consumer’s willingness to splurge on new things. Bravery has risen with the “good news,” and more and more are spending time eating out at restaurants as well as shopping at malls and having a good time. Sales of usually discretionary items have shown phenomenal success in the past six months, which shows that 2018 will go down as a very good year for retail growth.


Sales, excluding automobiles, will grow 5.1% better than the 4.2% captured in 2017. Just by looking out your own windows, most cities are building left and right, putting in new businesses and bringing in franchises to extend more entertainment and dining services to their own citizens. With building going up, building materials and franchises like Home Depot and others show sales advancing. It is forecasted that sales of all other goods will increase 4.9% this year, which is definitely a step up from last year’s 3.9% and the best gain in seven years straight.


E-commerce in this digital age will show yet another banner year, with growth of 15% or more, while in-store buying should have their best advance in sales since 2014. And when it comes to the automotive industry, 2.1% should be added to the astronomical growth it’s already been experiencing in recent years.


One of the best “markers” for Q4 sales comes from what holiday spending will look like for 2018. Researchers and financial professionals have forecasted that this year will see advanced sales as the New Year comes calling. The top three predictions for this holiday season seem to be shared by a wide variety of said forecasters.


The first focuses on the Black Friday/Cyber Monday dates. Purchasing holiday gifts is a process that has started sooner and peaked earlier for the past few holiday seasons. This time around, these dates (November 22nd through December 1st) are predicted to bring in about 37% of the total sales revenue, with Black Friday and Cyber Monday being the two top days for making purchases.


The second prediction for the holidays remains the same as it did last year. In the 2017 Christmas season, turning to the mobile phone and purchasing goods skyrocketed, and it looks like this trend will continue. Mobile sales is scheduled to account for 50-52% of the total sales for the holidays. Many are touting that sales will be big on Thanksgiving Day, when consumers are so busy with friends and family and getting that big meal ready that night will come and they will use their spare minutes to purchase gifts over their cell phones. In this way, they can order early and save valuable time.


A new addition that’s being looked at more this year than any before is the escalation of holiday sales when it comes to voice shopping. Digital voice-driven assistants (such as the popular, Alexa) is sure to impact U.S. retail E-commerce sales during the 2018 Christmas season. Voice apps have come on strong as of late, with several retailers already installing systems that will help shoppers order their products in only a few words. Another benefit is the fact that by using E-commerce, a high percentage of orders will include free shipping. Shoppers love not having to pay extra to receive their purchases, and by using mobile ordering ahead of time, a large portion of shoppers will be eligible for free, slower shipping, being that orders will have plenty of time to arrive before Santa Claus does.


Even if there are other areas of the financial community to worry about, for 2018, retail sales is most assuredly not one of them.


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