While growth is expected across a variety of employee fronts in 2017, the biggest increase will be in the number of staff devoted to Internet/mobile sales channels. Fifty-four percent of middle market retailers expect to increase the number of staff devoted to Internet/mobile sales next year, down from 62% in 2015, while 52% say they will increase the number of hourly staff. The ubiquitous influence of the web has made having an online presence the #1 strategic investment for 2016. More than seven in ten (73%) of omni-channel middle market retailers say that the biggest investment priority will be their online presence, followed by social media (57%) and digital marketing (50%).KEY FINDINGS
- Middle Market Retailers Predict a Successful Holiday Season: Three in five middle market retailers (60%) expect an increase in sales of 6% or more this holiday season versus last year. Nearly half (49%) expect an increase in online shopping to have the biggest incremental impact on holiday sales this year. Forty-seven percent expect an expansion of Black Friday promotions and 44% expect an increase in online or in-store discounts will have the most incremental impact.
- The Competitive Landscape Continues to Shift: Fifty-three percent of middle market and large retailers agree fast fashion retailers are taking consumers away from U.S. middle market retailers and pose a threat to other categories of goods. Seven in ten (71%) middle market and large retailers feel that it is likely that one or more prominent retailers will disappear in the next one to three years.
- Brick-and-Mortar Stores in a State of Flux: Almost three in five (56%) large and middle market retailers are using their stores differently than they have in the past, with over four in five of those with both a physical and online presence (83%) agreeing that their company is using their physical stores in a way that complements their digital channel. Eighty-one percent of middle market retailers agree that providing a unique shopping experience is an innovative way to attract new customers to brick-and-mortar.
- Web Presence Is Now the Price of Entry in Retail: Middle market retailers are less likely to say revenue is growing from stores (45% compared to 59% in 2015) than websites (75% compared to 71% in 2015). Expected growth from mobile is also high at 65%, while phone/catalog growth is low at 28%. Half (51%) cite updating and replacing technology as the key way to connect their channels.
- Mobile and Social Offer Competitive Advantages: Sixty-five percent of middle market retailers believe revenue is growing from mobile. The most common steps used to take advantage of mobile technology remain: creating mobile apps (51%), updating their website to meet consumer needs (50%) and increasing email campaigns (46%).
The data for this research study were weighted to ensure that the data are balanced and accurately represent the firmographics of interest to CIT. Figures for industry, title, functional role, decision-maker role, revenue, company ownership structure and company location/region were weighted to bring them into line with the respondent profile from prior waves of the research.About Harris Poll Over the last five decades, Harris Poll has become a media staple. With comprehensive experience and precise technique in public opinion polling, along with a proven track record of uncovering consumers' motivations and behaviors, Harris Poll has gained strong brand recognition around the world. About CIT Founded in 1908, CIT (NYSE:CIT) is a financial holding company with more than $65 billion in assets. Its principal bank subsidiary, CIT Bank, N.A., (Member FDIC, Equal Housing Lender), has more than $30 billion of deposits and more than $40 billion of assets. It provides financing, leasing and advisory services principally to middle-market companies across a wide array of industries primarily in North America, and equipment financing and leasing solutions to the transportation sector. It also offers products and services to consumers through its Internet bank franchise and a network of retail branches in Southern California, operating as OneWest Bank, a division of CIT Bank, N.A. cit.com