Non-food retailers will continue to struggle this Christmas with sales expected to show year-on-year growth of only 1.2% in the fourth quarter. Volumes are forecast to fall by 0.1% as price rises, which came into play as result of the weakened pound, will discourage cash strapped consumers from shopping over the seasonal period.
According to GlobalData, weak sales in early Q4 may entice more retailers to take part in Black Friday this year, although this runs the risk of bringing forward sales that would have otherwise been made at full price. The market research firm forecasts volumes to decrease by 0.6% on Q4 2017 compared to Q4 2017 in the clothing & footwear sector, as well as for furniture. While food & grocery remain more resilient than discretionary spend sectors, inflation has helped discounters to increase their reach ever further over the past year.
In contrast, the health & beauty market will be the strongest performing sector in Q4, with spend up 3.4% and volume growth positive - despite easing marginally on last year.
Fragrance and make-up new releases such as Chanel Gabrielle perfume and Fenty and Victoria Beckham x Estée Lauder cosmetics ranges will fuel gifting spend, as will innovation-led skincare items which tap into the ‘clean’ trend and wellness revolution. Department stores face increased competition this year from ASOS and the online beauty pureplays which are incredibly fierce on price and fulfilment.
Actually, online pure-players such as ASOS and Amazon are set to be the winners this Christmas, drawing consumers online with their vast product offer alongside market leading, fast and low cost delivery propositions.
“The online channel will continue to outperform physical sales growth,” says GlobalData. “The increased availability of delivery saver schemes this year, alongside express delivery options being widely accessible, will encourage shoppers to leave online purchases later, having the confidence to purchase right up until the last few days before Christmas,” the firm concludes.