THE DAILY SCOPE, 12/28/21: The year has flown by, but before we fully jump into 2022, let’s spend these last few days of 2021 in reflection. The 2021 holiday season was a tumultuous one for retail, which had to tackle everything from labor shortages and supply chain concerns to the emergence of the Omicron variant. Even so, the industry was largely able to persevere through these challenges to get customers their products on time and keep up with increased demand.
This success is reflected in the numbers from this holiday season. According to the Mastercard SpendingPulse report, the 2021 holiday season, defined as November 1 to December 24, saw an 8.5 percent and 11 percent increase in comparison to 2020 and 2019, respectively. Year-over-year sales of electronics outpaced these overall retail trends with a 16.2 percent increase when compared with 2020 and a 19.8 percent increase when compared to 2019. In-store, retail posted an 8.1 percent increase when compared to 2020 and a modest 2.4 percent increase when compared to 2019. However, e-commerce sales, which accounted for 20.9 percent of all retail sales this year, outpaced in-store retail trends with an 11 percent increase when compared to 2020 and a whopping 61.4 percent increase when compared to 2019.
Set to kick off on January 5, CES 2022 was already set to be a wacky ride given its unique hybrid set up in a recently renovated set of venues, but the Omicron variant is ensuring that the ride will be even bumpier and more unpredictable. As we have previously reported, several major companies are pulling out of in-person attendance of the event due to concerns over the Omicron variant, with the latest announcements coming from Microsoft, Google, OnePlus, AMD, MSI, and Intel. However, while some companies are pulling out, others are looking towards the venue as a platform to showcase an exciting array of new products. For example, LG is set to display its new array of see-through TVs. Yep…why watch TV when you can watch TV and the wall behind the screen. These partially transparent OLED TVs are ideal for stores and galleries, where they can function as an installation of the environment to showcase products and increase ambiance.
In other news, Joan Verdon, a senior contributor at Forbes, covers how the landscape of retail is changing thanks to new technologies and business models from retail start-ups such as TalkShopLive, Popshop Live, and Brik + Clik. Both TalkShopLive and Popshop Live are harnessing the power of livestream retail to get customers engaged with products and to give them a deeper look into the products’ inner features. Independent retailers should pay particular attention to Popshop Live, which has carved out a niche market segment as a live streaming solution for independent stores. Brik+Clik is a retail tech solutions company that provides online brands with a platform for physical retail without the costs of opening their own stores. This retail model organizes brands into chalet-style mini-stores based on their product categories. Also, in an interesting crossover between retail and the metaverse, Brik+Clik operates a virtual reality online store and accepts bitcoin as payment.
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