Spring is on its way. With it comes warmer weather, fun outdoors, and lifted spirits. Consumers are in a sunny mood, ready to shop again and seeking redo and to begin anew. They want to celebrate the end of winter by refreshing their wardrobes. They want to sweep out the dust, clean and open the windows, and spruce up their home and yard. Knowledge of retail trends will help you spring into a profitable season.
Trend 1: Getting The House In Order
Spring in many cultures symbolizes a new, clean start. People clean out their closets, pull down and wash curtains and drapes, and wash the windows. They complete a host of home repairs and maintenance projects such as checking the HVAC system, inspecting and repairing the roof, cleaning gutters, cleaning washing machine hoses and dryer vents, and recaulking. They repair screens in doors and windows and clean and stain decks to prepare them for barbecues and other outdoor activities.
Do-it-yourselfers are spring’s big spenders. Last year, home improvement sales in the United States alone totaled more than $113 billion from March through June. COVID-19 is one reason home improvement sales rose globally last year. Sales rose 8.1 percent in Australia, 4.1 percent in the Netherlands, and 1.8 percent in South Korea, for example, even while sales in other categories may have fallen. That global growth in home improvement sales is expected to continue at a rate of about 6.4 percent this year. E-commerce home improvement sales growth will exceed that of brick and mortar growth by a 6 to 1 ratio.
Two categories that showed growth within this category last year were “recently moved” and “arts and crafts.” This growth was particularly prevalent when linked with location-based marketing practices.
E-commerce retailers who are well stocked with do-it-yourself items and provide good customer experiences on their site will be well-positioned to see sales increase.
Trend 2: ReCommerce
Closely related to the spring-cleaning trend is the reCommerce trend. ReCommerce, or reverse commerce, involves renting, reselling, or buying at a discount previously owned merchandise either online or in brick-and-mortar stores.
From furniture to fashion, DVDs to mobile homes, the sale of pre-owned merchandise is rising significantly. In China alone, the resale market accounts for $60 billion and is growing. In the U.S., more than 20,000 eCommerce online and physical stores account for about $17.6 billion. That number is expected to increase to $51 billion in 2023. Related to this is the increase in rentals, particularly subscription rentals. Millennials and Generation Z members are drivers of this trend because ownership is less important to them than being able to use what they need affordably.
Environmental responsibility also is an important factor in the growth of reCommerce. About 11 billion kilograms of used clothing end up in U.S. landfills each year; reselling used clothing rather than throwing it away can significantly lessen negative environmental impact.
About half of the reCommerce sales worldwide are in the fashion and accessories segments. Resale apparel sales are growing 24 times faster than retail apparel sales. Resale aficionados participate in this trend as a way to save money and also to earn money by selling what they no longer need. During COVID-19 quarantines, people are cleaning out their closets much more than before quarantine, and they’re reselling these items. E-commerce stores that can adapt to offer some resale or rental items will be able to capitalize on this trend.
Trend 3: Warm Weather Clothes and Gear
Sales of warm weather clothes and gear also rise during spring. Retailers can capitalize on this trend by offering promotions on warm-weather items and featuring complete ensembles, such as dress, coat, hat, and gloves. They also can promote outdoor activities on their social media pages, with links to gear and clothes on their e-commerce sites.
Traffic for dresses is more significant in spring than at any other time of the year. Traffic in the spring is 16 percent higher than in summer and 52 percent higher than in the fall. This increase is most significant in April and May as folks gear up for weddings, proms, and graduations.
Sales of swimwear are expected to grow globally at a compound annual growth rate of 6.6 percent through 2023. Growth will be strong in developing countries in Asia, such as China, and India as watersports gain in popularity there. Sales of swimwear made from nylon also will increase because the material better resists sand, chlorine, and salt. Luxury swimwear also will gain in popularity.
Athleisure sales are growing, particularly sales of athleisure sneakers, which are rising about 7 percent year over year. In fact, this category was expected to surpass fashion shoes as the largest footwear category in the United States. The whole athleisure market is rising globally; while the Americas are growing the fastest currently, growth in Asia is expected to surpass this soon. The number of people working from home who desire comfort is one driver of this growth.
Celebrities such as Beyonce and Rihanna are leading a trend toward luxury athleisure wear, and brands are responding to it. Examples are Athleta’s “City Pants” and Lululemon’s “Office, Travel, Commute” athleisure collections.
As people prepare for the swimsuit season, they exercise more. Sport equipment sales also are expected to rise in spring. This trend will be stronger this year than in previous years because many people still are shying away from the gym because of COVID-19 fears. Camping gear also is typically a strong seller in spring.
Trend 4: Big Shopping Holidays
Holidays are a time to celebrate with loved ones. Much of that celebration is through giving gifts. E-commerce retailers can capitalize on this trend by encouraging shoppers to spend more on gifts for people they love.
Mother’s Day is one of the top five highest selling days in the United States and one of the biggest online sales days in Europe. Billions of Euros are spent on the day across digital and physical stores, with e-commerce gaining an increasingly larger share. Jewelry searches increase ahead of Mother’s Day. Flowers and electronics are also popular Mother’s Day gifts; displaying them prominently on your site will increase sales. Research shows that shoppers plan for Mother’s Day, so ad campaigns should begin at least four weeks out.
Although not quite as large a shopping occasion, Father’s Day is still in the top 10 largest shopping events in the United States. Shoppers will look for gifts related to outdoor hobbies, such as fishing, grilling, or golf. Music-related gifts, including headphones and other electronics, are always popular with Dad, as well. Bar sets also are popular with men who enjoy the good life.
Easter and Passover also generate significant retail sales. Cadbury eggs and other chocolate eggs are popular Easter sellers in many countries. Clothing and flower sales also increase significantly in the weeks preceding Easter. Food and drink are big sellers for both Passover and Easter in many countries. Gift items specifically tailored to these holy days also are top sellers.
St. Patrick’s Day also is a big retail day in the United States, Great Britain, and Ireland. A National Retail Federation survey found that about half of Americans plan to celebrate that day, with 92 percent of them making purchases. Most people spend a little under $50, so relatively inexpensive, green items are what to promote here. Promotions such as the first 17 people to buy an item receive a 17 percent discount would be in keeping with the theme.
Trend 5: Big Shopping Moments
When the weather heats up, so does the shopping for major milestone occasions. Shoppers spend extravagantly on various items. For weddings, for example, they will buy outfits for themselves, but also spend on travel to the wedding locale and gifts for the bride and groom. Graduation also often includes travel and visits with family, as well as gifts that are as diverse as the graduate.
Beginning in May, sales rise for clothing, gifts, accessories, and travel-related items because the wedding season begins. The average wedding guest spends about $100 on a wedding present; of course, those close to the couple will spend more. They spend about $155 on wedding attire. E-commerce stores that promote these products and offer incentives to buy will take full advantage of this season.
Last year, graduation gift-givers told researchers they expected to spend an average of about $112 on graduation gifts in the United States. Gift cards, electronics, and apparel are popular gifts.
Prom and Spring Socials
As with many other events that were canceled during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, spring social events for teenagers are restarting. These events often call for significant spending, event tickets, meals, transportation, and more. At the top of the list is apparel and accessories for the event itself. But with all the other spending, it can be a challenge to afford that “perfect look.”
In today’s world, there’s also the “promposal,” a big gesture invitation to attend. The total spend may astound people from older generations. Even more surprising, the lower a family’s income, the higher they spend. According to a study by Visa in 2015, families with a total household income below $50,000 a year plan to spend $1109 on the prom. Families making under $25,000 will spend a total of $1393 for the prom, while families who make over $50,000 will spend an average of $799. Affordability and budgeting are key for this special event in a teenager’s life.
Trend 6: Gardening
Lawn, garden, and patio spending surges during spring break. In fact, demand typically spikes more than 60 percent for these items. Some retailers are gearing up for this by offering discounts for buying in bundles, for example, shade gardens, to make home delivery easier.
This year, gardening is expected to be particularly popular worldwide because of the pandemic. Last year, the United States picked up about 20 million new gardeners, most under age 35. This group is particularly interested in growing food because locally grown food reduces the carbon footprint. Food gardening also is a way to allay food shortage fears, and many are participating in this trend globally. Russians, for example, are isolating in out-of-town cottages with plots and rooftop farms are growing in Singapore. A boom in vegetable seed sales is expected as a result.
Balcony gardening, window sill gardening, and gardening in tiny spaces also are becoming increasingly popular because of the pandemic. These gardens often contain flowers, as well as food.
Spring also is an excellent time for landscaping. Consumers may be interested in landscaping services, software, and materials.
Consumers want to enjoy all their hard work in their yards by sitting, recreating, and cooking in their gardens during warmer weather. Since many family activities have been curtailed because of the pandemic, much of the family’s recreation now takes place in their yards. Sales of outdoor furniture, grills, and pool items spiked last year as the pandemic kept many at home instead of traveling. A similar trend is expected this year.
Online retailers who begin now to promote garden tools, seeds, fertilizers, and outdoor furniture, cooking, and recreation items will have a jump start on the season.
Trend 7: The Spring Budget Challenge
Any one of these trends can put serious stress on a shopper’s budget. They can lead to hundreds if not thousands of dollars, pounds, or Euros of spending (or the equivalent), all in just a few weeks.
Beyond that, shoppers often want to indulge themselves for many of these trends, again, all in a short period of time. Think of a family with two teenagers, an engaged relative, and plans to spruce up their garden for the year. That’s even more budget stress.
Although the spending is not essential, it can be frustrating to have to lay it all out up front or make big compromises. It can be scary to rack up big credit card balances and pay even more for spring occasions with interest charges.
Offering a Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) solution to your payment options gives your shoppers additional choices in how they manage their spending. They can apply for new credit when they make their purchases—this is the way the majority of BNPL options work. However, it might be challenging to manage multiple bi-weekply installment plans all signed up for over a short period of time. It’s a lot to keep track of and juggle.
Splitit offers a big advantage to shoppers who have available credit on their existing cards. They can make their purchases and choose to pay them in monthly payments without additional interest. They also don’t have to worry about new accounts or late fees, or figure out how to work bi-weekly payments into their monthly budgeting and bill paying. In other words, Splitit helps with the “buy now” part of the story while also helping shoppers manage their finances responsibly.
Spring is often associated with the color green, but for e-commerce, that green translates into major revenue opportunities. This spending surge may be even greater with the pent-up demand from canceled or postponed special occasions.
As a merchant, there’s a lot you can do to optimize your selection, your promotions, and the overall shopping experience, including adding Splitit to your site so that shoppers can manage the impacts to their budget responsibly. Splitit is easy to get up and running within your site. It’s not too late to capitalize on all of these spring opportunities.
To find out more about adding Splitit to your site for spring, contact us now.