Five holiday predictions

In advance of the 2018 holiday rush, here are five predictions for the upcoming shopping season from Ryne Misso, director of marketing for Market Track, a provider of market intelligence solutions:

*Stores reclaiming their place under the tree
Holiday 2017 saw a resurgence in enthusiasm towards Black Friday in-store shopping. The resurgence was attributed to several factors, from a strengthening economy, to retailers removing timing restrictions on their sale events. Another factor that should gain even more traction during holiday 2018 is retailers using their physical store locations as value differentiators.

We expect to see more in-store events (like Walmart’s holiday parties in 2017), more opportunities for shoppers to demo new products (like Best Buy’s VR demos in 2017), and other creative experiences that shoppers can only enjoy by visiting a store location.

*Voice commerce will become more than just a blip on the radar
Amazon sold more than one million smart home devices on Prime Day this year. Alexa technology has penetrated a huge number of American households—enough so that voice commerce may drive a relevant portion of sales during the upcoming holiday season. Look for Amazon to incentivize holiday shopping through Alexa-connected devices, further training the US consumer base on how to use voice commerce to meet their needs regularly.

*Would you like a turkey with that Echo?
As we saw in the lead up to Prime Day, Amazon has fully embarked on incentivizing cross-shopping between and Whole Foods stores. Between the spend $10, get $10 promotional incentive for Prime Day, and the launch of Prime delivery at Whole Foods locations in close to 40 cities, grocery is irrevocably a focus for Amazon.

We don’t anticipate that changing during the holiday shopping season. Expect Amazon to offer Black Friday shopping incentives to those shopping for their Thanksgiving feasts at Whole Foods, and vice versa. And don’t be surprised to see grocery and durables products included in the same holiday promotion, such as a free Echo Dot with the purchase of a turkey at Whole Foods.