Harris Poll and CIT Group, a provider of commercial lending and leasing services, recently released the results of a survey they conducted on how middle-market retailers felt about their sector’s financial health. Here are some of the key findings.
Middle-market retailers were most likely to be optimistic about the sales they generated from online and mobile offerings, with 75 percent and 65 percent expecting revenue growth in the next year, respectively.
Similarly, revenue growth expectations have decreased in other areas. In-store growth optimism scored a 45 percent compared to 50 percent in 2015, and only 28 percent of middle-market retailers were optimistic about revenue growth in catalog and phone channels, compared to 42 percent in 2015.
Fifty-four percent of middle-market retailers expect that they will increase the number of staff devoted to internet sales and mobile sales channels within the next year, down from 62 percent in 2015. Fifty-two reportedly say they will increase the volume of hourly staff.
Online presence was noted as the number one strategic investment for middle-market retailers in 2016, with 73 percent of omnichannel middle-market retailers responding that their biggest investment priority will be their online presence. This was followed by social media presence and digital marketing, with 57 percent and 50 percent, respectively.
Almost 56 percent of middle-market retailers reported using their stores differently than in the past, with 83 percent of retailers with both a brick-and-mortar and online presence reporting that their company uses physical stores as a way to complement their digital channel. Eighty-one percent of middle-market retailers reportedly believe that a unique shopping experience is essential for attracting new customers back into to physical stores.
Perhaps most strikingly, 71 percent of middle-market retailers believe it is likely that one or more prominent retailers will disappear in the next one to three years due to the industry’s increasingly competitive landscape.