Author: Shannon Bryant

Online Sales of Women's Accessories On The Rise

U.S. online sales for women’s accessories grew 7%, to 7.1 billion, in the 12 months ending March 2014, according to The NPD Group. While website purchases represented only 19% of the total $37.4 billion women’s accessories market, the performance of online sales was a bright spot for the industry, which remained flat during the same period. Three out of the seven accessories categories experienced double-digit dollar sales gains online during the period.

Shoppers to Spend Average of $113 on Gifts for Father's Day

According a new survey from the National Retail Federation (NRF), the average person will spend $113.80 on neckties, tools, electronics and other special gifts for dad this year. Father's Day shoppers will look for gifts at a variety of locations, including discount stores (28.1%), online (28.4%) and specialty stores (24.2%); 16.6% say they plan to support their communities and shop at a local or small business to find gift items for dad.

M‑Commerce to Account for More Than Half of Online Sales by 2018

Sales made through mobile phones and tablets are just beginning to have an impact on e‑commerce, however, those transactions are expected to reach $293 billion by 2018, or approximately 54% of all online sales. Tablets are expected to drive $219 billion of those purchases, and smartphones $74 billion. And by the end of this year, combined tablet and mobile sales are expected to total $114 billion, powered by media products, clothing and consumer electronics.

Moms Consider Themselves Decision-Makers on Auto Purchases

Nearly three of four (73%) moms consider themselves to be the "sole decision-maker" in the vehicle shopping process, according to a new study by Cars​.com. As a growing number of consumers turn to online resources for information and transparency when making major purchases, women with children have emerged as a highly engaged group of shoppers. The study found that 71% of moms agree that shopping online for a new or used vehicle makes the process much easier, but more than half (68%) still prefer to conduct negotiations in person.

Innovation, Variety Keeps Coffee Drinkers Coming Back

Coffee innovation continues to help a very mature market grow new usage occasions and higher price points. Restaurant operators target savvy coffee drinkers with seasonal flavors like mint and pumpkin, as well as a growing stream of limited-time coffee and coffee drink selections. Retail coffee manufacturers are also embracing variety, and are seeking to deliver a more unique beverage to the customer that can help justify a higher price point.

Majority of Shoppers Spending Less by Switching to Store Brands

Seven in 10 shoppers (71%) say they’re spending less on food, beverage and household goods by choosing store brands, but don’t feel like they’re sacrificing much. In fact, only 31% of brands are considered a “must have” — one that shoppers would buy whether on sale or not, according to a new study by Deloitte. Nearly 9 in 10 (88%) respondents say they have found several store brands that are just as good as national brands.

Shift in U.S. Population Driving Changes in Eating Behavior

The U.S. population is changing with Boomers aging, Generation Z and Millennials entering new life stages, and Hispanics making up a growing share of the younger generations, and these shifts will have a major impact on the country’s eating behaviors over the next five years. Generation Z and Millennials are driving changes with their approach to food choice and preparation; these generational groups want more involvement in preparing their food and meals, particularly at breakfast.

Americans — Particularly Midwesterners — to Travel More This Summer

Americans plan to travel more frequently this summer, according to the results of a consumer survey released by the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS). Consumers in the Midwest are most likely to spend more money this summer due to the harsh winter weather. And as more than 8 in 10 consumers (84%) say that they will drive for a summer vacation, convenience stores expect to see plenty of traffic at the gas pumps this summer.

Luxury Shoppers More Likely to Trust Sales Associates with Mobile Devices

Retailers who are wanting to lure luxury shoppers should arm their sales associates with mobile devices, according to new research. High-end shoppers are savvy, particular and use mobile devices to do their homework before making a purchase. The majority of luxury customers are more willing to interact with a sales associate equipped with a mobile device, as there is a lack of trust between luxury customers and sales associates over product knowledge.

Retail Sales, Website Purchases of Men's Apparel on the Rise

Total men’s apparel U.S. retail sales reached $60.8 billion in 2013, a 5% increase over the $57.8 billion generated in 2012, thanks in large part to double-digit gains in sales of men’s outerwear, pants, and socks, according to The NPD Group. Website purchases, which represented 14% of men’s apparel sales, saw some of the highest growth for the year, increasing 19% over 2012.

Renewed Interest in Bicycles Bodes Well for Independent Dealers

Consumers' renewed interest in bicycles for transportation and fitness needs, as well as the introduction of new hybrids and models, bodes well for independent bike retailers as we enter the prime bicycling season. Independent Bicycle Dealer retail bicycle sales, which declined 2% in 2013, experienced a turnaround in the first quarter of 2014, increasing 6% to $270.2 million. Categories that saw sales rebound include Mountain bicycles, commuters and hybrids.

Ebook Readers Using Devices to Supplement, Not Replace, Printed Books

Hard copy books haven't become a dinosaur just yet — consumers are still reading print versions. In fact, according to a March 2014 study by Harris Interactive, U.S. internet users were far more likely to only read printed books than ebooks or a mix of the two. Research shows that those who use ebooks are using the devices to supplement, not replace, printed books.

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