2016 BDO Retail Compass Survey of CMOs: Full Report

Consumers may loosen the grips on their wallets heading into the holiday season this year…if the price is right. Steadily climbing consumer confidence and sales growth for certain categories in recent months suggest consumers may have greater flexibility when it comes to their overall budget, but they’re still on the hunt for the best deals. This optimism is reflected in findings from our 11th annual Retail Compass Survey of CMOs, which found that CMOs at leading U.S. retailers project a 4.7 percent increase in total holiday sales this year, tied with the highest projection in the survey’s 11-year history.

“Conditions seem favorable heading into the holiday season this year. But the pressure is on for retailers to identify the optimal mix of promotions and pricing across channels,” says Natalie Kotlyar, National Leader of BDO’s Consumer Business practice. “It’s arguably the toughest decision retailers will make—and the most critical factor in their holiday season success.”

With customers accustomed to deep discounting, price-comparing and coupon-digging before making a purchase, retailers are feeling the pressure to offer the best price without sacrificing margins. In fact, 91% of retailers cited price competition as their greatest challenge this holiday season.

For an in-depth look at retailers’ expectations for the holiday season, including promotional tactics, priority marketing channels, social media strategies, and projections for Black Friday and Cyber Monday results, read the full report here.