Despite strong industry-wide retail sales this holiday season, brick and mortar retailers are making tough decisions. Two well-known retailers, Macy’s and Sears, blame the increase in online shopping for stealing market share and are closing more physical locations as a result.
The data appears to support their claims. According to First Data, a leading payment solutions provider for businesses, overall retail sales during the 2016 holiday season were up 3.6 percent over 2015. eCommerce’s share of those retail sales grew to 21.3 percent compared with 15.4 percent a year ago.
While online shopping won’t force any apartment communities to close their doors, there’s a wealth of insight multifamily marketers can implement:
The number of consumers who have been shopping at boutique retailers and dining at local eateries has been growing for years. As more national retail stores close, the “Going Local” consumer trend will continue to grow in urban and suburban markets alike.
According to a 2016 National Restaurant Association study, 68 percent of consumers said they’re more likely to visit a restaurant serving food with locally sourced ingredients. The PwC holiday outlook survey, which was conducted prior to the 2016 shopping season, found that nearly 56 percent of consumers planned to shop at local independent retailers.
This trend will empower multifamily marketers to further define their brands on a hyper-local level. Associating their communities with local restaurants and shops will better resonate with their most likely renters, who want to really connect with their local neighborhood.
Online shopping is no longer just for the younger demographic. People of all ages and lifestyles are choosing to buy clothes, electronics and even groceries online or from mobile devices at a higher rate.
They’re looking for ways to make their lives more convenient and crave more from new technologies. In PwC’s 2016 Total Retail survey, 58 percent of U.S. respondents said convenience was the main influencer for buying online. Only 32 percent cited price as the main influencer.
Multifamily marketers can help feed that convenience appetite through the implementation of smart home devices and other connected technologies, like Amazon’s Echo with Alexa or the Nest thermostat.
As the new year progresses, more retail store closures are sure to be announced. While physical apartment homes will never go away, multifamily marketers have an opportunity to analyze and adjust to the underlying trends of other industries.