Retailers Feel the Pressure to Discount; Use Social Media to Stand OutGiven the importance of the holiday season, small and middle market retailers are putting a great deal of effort into making sure they see strong results. As retailers of any size look for ways to succeed, many feel they will need to offer sales and promotions. Sixty-four percent of small business retailers, and 88% of middle market retailers, think they will need to be more aggressive in sales and promotions in order to stand out. As a way to raise their company's profile, 89% of small business retailers will utilize social media this holiday season; of those, the greatest number are using Facebook (81%). More than two-thirds of small business retailers (67%) say their company will be offering holiday discounts this year. Among those offering holiday discounts:
- 58% will start offering holiday discounts the same time as last year
- 42% will start offering holiday discounts earlier
Additionally, more than three-quarters of small business owners (80%), and 87% of middle market companies across industries are planning to give their employees bonuses this year. When it comes to the type of bonus they will receive, 54% of small business owners indicate that their employees can expect something equivalent to "a small stocking stuffer" (less than 5% of annual salary), 22% expect to give a gift "too large to fit in the stocking" (5 to 15% of salary) and only 4% will give staff the "gift of their dreams" (more than 15% of their salary). However, 20% say their employees should expect "a lump of coal" (no bonus at all). Middle market employees can expect slightly larger bonuses - 14% will be getting the holiday gift of their dreams (more than 15% of salary), 37% will be getting a gift too large to fit in the stocking (5-15% of salary), and 37% will get a small stocking stuffer (less than 5% of salary).Despite Expectations for Growth, Holiday Season Is Not Carefree In the near term, growth overall is the top priority for small and middle market companies across industries. Roughly three quarters (74%) of small businesses and more than nine in ten (91%) middle market companies identify growth as their top priority. As they consider expansion, 59% of small businesses expect their business to grow over the next quarter - with half who say their company will be 'making gains' (50%) and nearly one in ten who say their company will be 'expanding by leaps and bounds' (9%). Despite their positive outlook and focus on growth, there are causes for concern during the holiday season:
- Employee productivity (41%) and data security (38%) will be greater concerns during the holidays than during any other time of the year for small businesses from various industries.
- For middle market companies across industries, employee productivity is the greatest cause for concern around the holidays (24%) and 78% agree that employee productivity will be a greater concern at their company during the holidays than during any other time of the year. Additionally, 76% agree that data security will be a greater concern during the holidays than during any other time of the year.