It looks like 2017 is shaping up to be a solid year for retail growth. That’s because consumers are feeling more confident about parting with their hard-earned dollars.
According to predictions from the National Retail Federation (NRF), sales growth could range between 3.7 and 4.2 percent. However, even though unemployment is down, wages are up and the housing market is stronger, NRF CEO Matt Shay said, “We think consumers will remain thoughtful, circumspect, [and] even a bit hesitant to spend until they really have more certainty about the strength of the economy.”
Even with an air of caution lingering among consumers, it could work out to be a pretty good year for retailers – especially for brick-and-mortar stores that have added an e-commerce component to their business. Online growth is booming, and NRF predicts that online sales growth will be “up to three times higher than the growth rate of the wider industry.”
According to Business Insider, “This further illustrates the importance of digital and omnichannel offerings. The NRF’s predictions drive home the point that online is going to be the major driver of growth for retail moving forward.”
Twenty million more consumers hopped online to shop last year, and Amazon had a lot to do with the attraction. Clearly, e-commerce is fast-becoming the way of the future for all retailers.
If you’re on the fence about streamlining efficiencies by adding e-commerce and inventory management technology to increase sales, maybe now is the time to jump off and take action. If the NRF prediction rings true, and online retail surpasses in-store sales by 8 to 12 percent this year, “finding ways to capitalize on rising e-commerce, like through the addition of new channels or hybrid omnichannel functionality, will be increasingly important.”