Buzzworthy Insights – July Sales

08.16.2021 Buzzworthy Insights
By Shasta Catli, Analyst

July Retail Sales

U.S. retail sales in July were boosted by pent-up demand and the Child Tax Credit.

U.S. retail sales rose 10.9% in July over the year-ago period, posting an 11th consecutive month of growth. The rise in sales is nearly four times the average growth in the month of July. Brick-and-mortar is rebounding and made up 81.9% of total retail sales for the month. Consumers returned to shopping in physical stores, especially on weekends, causing in-store sales to rise 15.5% year-over-year in July.

The Child Tax Credit (there have been six monthly payments so far) boosted apparel sales and department stores as parents were provided cash during the back-to-school season. Apparel was up 80% year-over-year and department stores were up 44.8% year-over-year. Back-to-school shopping is in full swing this year and the Child Tax Credit has helped families prepare for a return to in-person learning as well as created more revenue for retailers. (View source)

Halloween News

Party City to remodel stores and open 100 Halloween pop-ups.

Party good retailer Party City plans to open 80 to 100 seasonal Halloween stores this year, compared to the 25 locations that it opened in 2020 due to the pandemic. Party City has been building its Halloween and merchandising store teams for the last 18 months in preparation for the exciting return of the season’s in-person festivities. The pop-ups will be ready for any level of demand in this ‘volatile and dynamic time.’

Party City is also continuing its next-gen remodeling program for its regular stores. The prototype includes better signage, lower shelf heights, a more curated assortment of goods, and a store format that allows the store to carry $100,000 less in inventory while still generating high sales. So far 57 stores have been remodeled to date. By the end of 2021, 98 stores are expected to be in this format – 41 additional stores are planned to be remodeled and 23 new stores are expected to open in the third quarter. (View source)

Holiday Season Expectations

Consumers will shop early this Holiday season and expect safety measures in-store.

The holiday season is expected to kick off early this year – again! In a recent survey by Shopkick, 22% of consumers plan to shop earlier this year, with 25% expecting to do most of their shopping before Thanksgiving and 10% before Halloween. When it comes to where purchases will be made, 43% of consumers expect to buy most gifts in a physical store, up 9% from last year. Most (68%) will visit big-box stores such as Target and Walmart.

For the in-store experience, the ability to touch and see products is most important to consumers (70%), followed by interacting with store associates (41%), product sampling (20%), complimentary gift wrapping (15%), and holiday events such as photos with Santa (13%). Consumers also want in-store safety measures to remain throughout the holiday season. Expectations include retailers to offer disinfecting spray (48%), enforce social distancing measures (36%), plexiglass barriers at checkout (34%), and store employees to wear face coverings (32%). (View source)

Fortune 500 Rankings

Walmart holds onto the number one spot while Amazon jumps ahead.

According to the annual Fortune 500 rankings, Walmart again earns the top spot as the largest company in the world by revenue. Walmart was well-positioned to benefit from the disruptions caused by the pandemic as many shoppers used omnichannel services like BOPIS and in-store pickup. Amazon was also able to take advantage of the disruption; Amazon moved from #9 in the rankings to #3 this year after COVID-19 drove explosive e-commerce growth. Other notable retailers in the top 100 of the list include Costco (#27), Home Deport (#41), Target (#78), and Lowe’s (#80). (View source)

Influencer Marketing

Marketers will spend $1 billion more than last year on influencer marketing.

U.S. influencer marketing spending will rise 33.6% in 2021 to $3.69 billion; it’s the strongest growth in the industry since 2019. Spend is expected to reach $5 billion by 2023 with growth in the double-digits.

Two-thirds of U.S. marketers worked with influencers last year, up from 55.4% in 2019. However, as the pandemic put a strain on budgets, many were forced to halt campaigns or cut influencers’ paychecks, which slowed spending growth.

When it comes to the most popular platform, Instagram leads as it accounts for roughly half of the market. YouTube and Facebook also make up a significant portion of spending and TikTok, which is still growing, accounts for a smaller slice of the pie. (View source)

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