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QuickWit Weekly (7/19) – Top Retail News from last week & the continuation of Digital Growth

The big news we were talking about today was retail data and the impact of digital, as the monthly retail data for June is now out. Retail sales were up 0.6% from the previous month, and saw a 15.6% increase compared to June 2020. eComm made up 16% of all sales in the month of June and was up 11.9% from June 2020 as well, suggesting that the 2020 growth wasn’t the digital bubble many said it was.  

Jason Goldberg shared a great snapshot of this data…

We probably shouldn’t be surprised that clothing tops the list, as many of us are finding our wardrobe a bit stale these days – we haven’t had many reasons to buy new clothes over the past year. 

So, with digital growth still very much in positive growth mode how are companies spending their marketing budgets?

A recent Gartner poll of CMO spend shows a data point to back this all up…

Pretty logical, companies can see where the growth is coming from and are investing where they see opportunity. So, companies must be using the extra revenue they are making from increased sales to fund digital right?

As Lee Corso would say, “not so fast my friend”. 

That same Gartner poll shows that marketing budgets (as % of total revenue) are trending down significantly compared to prior years. 

This tells us that marketing budgets are tightening, but digital commerce is priority #1 when it comes to deciding how and where that money is spent. Companies in all industries have learned a LOT in the past year and a half, and clearly they know what is at risk if they aren’t getting their fair share of eComm spend and growth. 

Combo this trend with the recent Publicis Groupe acquisition of CitrusAd, not to mention the retail media arms race in general, you can start to see this is all heading the same direction. If there is a fight to spend the money, there is going to be a bigger fight to collect those dollars. We are expecting a lot of jockeying for position throughout the rest of 2021, something to watch closely.

Would love to hear your thoughts, where is this all going?

And here is the other top retail news from last week:

It’s July and it’s hot, so here is a fun story as Instacart shares what America’s ‘Flavorite’ Ice Cream is in Every State.

Consolidations & Acquisitions:

New Hampshire-based C&S Wholesale Grocers announced Thursday that it is buying Wisconsin-based Piggly Wiggly Midwest

The retail media sees some change as Publicis Groupe acquires CitrusAd, this is going to without a doubt make some waves in the industry.

Partnerships Everywhere:

Walmart continues to drive their fashion options, announcing a partnership with Justice. Perfect timing for this partnership, right when back to school shopping season is kicking in.

Another partnership, potentially a great tie in for the back to college/first apartment crowd, as Bed Bath & Beyond partners with Casper to include their bedding inside Casper stores.

Recipe box venture Gousto and Spotify match listening habits with dinner recommendations, based on the listening preferences.

In an effort to scale faster in the Nashville community, Donatos Pizza has partnered with REEF (who has a national network of neighborhood kitchens) to make and deliver pizzas to more of the community without having to open new locations. 

Other Top Stories:

The dollar channel continues its explosive growth, as Dollar General is upping their workforce by 50,000 by Labor Day – a great sign for Dollar General as a retailer.

Maybe it was nothing, or maybe it was another cyberattack, but something was causing a major outage for Amazon last night. Of those reporting issues, 80% couldn’t get Amazon.com to load, and others had issues logging in or submitting orders. It was a global outage for Amazon, and certainly raised some alarm for the company. We are not speculating what may have happened, but happy to see whatever happened was temporary and things went back to normal last night. 

The great worker shortage continues, and companies are upping the ante. McDonald’s is reportedly adding tuition and child care as perks for the employees, as they are desperate to fill roles in their restaurants nationwide. Many places are adding signing bonuses and trying other perks to attract talent, but the reality is that many are hesitant to jump into restaurants and service work after how 2020 played out. The real question we have is, where are all the high school kids working these days? 

MarketingDive shares a boat load of fascinating statistics.  A sample we found interesting below.

  • Data is the name of the game: 88% of marketers say collecting first-party data is a top priority in 2021, but many are experiencing “data paralysis” (source: Merkle)
  • Brand purpose and diversity: Marketers’ priorities are misaligned with consumers’ willingness to receive social and political messages (source: Iterable). 87% of consumers said they’re more receptive to a brand’s messages if they know the company’s beliefs and values, but 83%of marketers said their company should remain politically neutral (source: Iterable)
  • Zooming in on loyalty: 75% of consumers abandoned brands they were once loyal to and/or adopted new habits during the pandemic (source: McKinsey & Co.)
    Shifting budgets: $455.3B Global digital ad spending forecast, up 20.4% (source: eMarketer)

Center traffic in U.S. has risen 55% in 2021.  That’s the score tallied by data scientists at Zenreach, an omnichannel ad platform that determines sales attribution by measuring online conversions and store visits.  Zenreach determined that returns to retail by consumers rose sharply in the first quarter and then moved up by 12% in the last two months.

C-Suite News:

Kroger Names New SVP of Retail Divisions, Valerie Jabbar, currently group VP of center store merchandising, will assume her latest role on Aug. 7

Amazon makes an outside hire to help run its stores in the U.S. Tony Hoggett, who is currently chief strategy and innovation director at Tesco, will be joining Amazon in January as SVP of Physical Stores.

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