Trading in Christmas 2019 is marginally ahead of last year, with some retailers facing a more challenging environment, depending on which sector of Irish retail.
That is the latest from Retail Excellence, who said there is no doubt that there continues to be fundamental shifts in consumer behavior. This, they say, is driven in some cases by the relentless rise in the use of digital media and in particular Smart Phones, and in other cases there are generational shifts away from physical goods to more experiential based retailing, and finally there is a growing awareness of the whole area of sustainability.
Online continues to show strong growth, with the Black Friday event showing an average growth of 30% on the previous year. However some caution is needed, as there continues to be significant spend on .co.uk and international .com retailers, such as Amazon which are eroding sales from Irish retail.
And while many Irish retailers have embraced the digital and online journey, there is evidence that in some cases it is Peter robbing to Pay Paul, and the sales being taken from the physical store. While Irish retailers continue to invest in the physical store, with some amazing examples of world class retail, the real key to success will be blending the physical with the digital, and creating that seamless “Phygital” journey for the customer.
And with a spend of close to €5billion by Irish consumers on the traditional Christmas, it has been a relatively positive trading season, but perhaps not equally shared by all sectors of retail, and the small to medium sized independents finding the environment more challenging.
The last five days to Christmas Eve have traded well, in what is a “Full Employment” economy. A full weekend, along with along with having three full shopping days before Christmas Day, when most people were on annual leave, did have a very positive impact on footfall and spending.
The retail excellence assessment of Christmas 2019 concludes that trading has reached the same level as last year.
“So our final message, is to 'get out and shop', there will be plenty of value on offer, but please think about shopping local at the same time.”