Mid-​Market Retailers Optimistic for 2014

A new Forbes Insights report, released in conjunction with CIT, suggests that retailers remain cautiously optimistic for 2014. While about half of these operators believe that a recovery may finally be underway after the prolonged recession, others aren’t so sure. To drive sales retailernext year, mid-​market operators will be exploring ways to increase their performance in online channels. But, to succeed, they know they’ll need to find ways to beat market disruptors like Amazon and Wal-Mart.

About half of mid-​market retailers fully expect the long awaited recovery to take hold in 2014, though 61% say that there are structural changes afoot. Nearly 2/​3, 61%, see evidence of an uneven recovery. In this recovery, upper-​income consumers are faring well but the middle class is shifting down to lower-​priced products. Operators believe economic indicators like the rising stock market are driving sales. However, unemployment, general uncertainty and high payroll taxes are a drag on shoppers. Despite this cautious feeling, about 42% of surveyed operators anticipate a sales increase of over 10% next year.

The intense retail competition has led 2/​3 of operators to say that at least 1 large key retailer will go out of business in the next couple of years. However, this shift in the market won’t lead to a relaxed attitude for most retailers. They’ll be working to improve their online and mobile business presence. About 1/​3 say “their business model is in need of significant updating.”  Social media is a key challenge for 58% of businesses in this survey and one of their key problems is finding workers with skills in this area.

If you're working with mid-​market retailers, do you have ideas to help them expand their online and mobile media efforts next year?

Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.