Retail sales of diamond jewelry grew last year and in the first half of 2015 by 4 percent to 8 percent with solid performance from the U.S. Meanwhile, the Chinese market continues to slow, due to stagnant GDP growth, which caused a ripple effect across the entire value chain. In 2015, diamond producers and mid-segment companies should anticipate a 10 percent to 20 percent decrease in revenue with diamond jewelry sales to remain near flat.
Import cargo volume at the nation's major retail container ports is expected to be essentially unchanged from last year this month as stores bring in the last round of merchandise for the holiday season, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.
Now that retailers have put their Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales behind them, many are gearing up for another potential holiday season gauntlet: A possible crush of procrastinators hitting their stores and websites at the last minute.
While more peak-season shopping will likely be done online this year than ever before in North America, one of the most important factors in a shopper's decision to use the web will be cost rather than speed of delivery, according to a consumer survey conducted by Canadian parcel and freight service Purolator International, along with the Stony Brook University Center for Survey Research.
Twenty years after the launch of the commercial internet, most merchants still fail to optimize the online checkout experience for the customers who visit their virtual storefronts. The result is that they stand to lose as much as 36 percent of sales due to the frictions that remain from discovery through checkout. Merchants could lose additional sales during payment processing.
B2C e-commerce in Canada is dominated by U.S.-based retailers, according to a report from Research and Markets. However, local Canadian retailers could be favored this year by weaker Canadian currency with respect to the U.S. dollar.
Shopping season means waiting in line. But this year may be even worse. New chip technology in credit cards is making consumers' purchases safer but also appears to be causing longer lines at some retailers.
While physical gift card purchases and receipts are still preferred over digital, both awareness and actual use of digital gifts is growing, with male shoppers leading the way, says research from Stored Value Solutions. The research also suggests that adoption can be accelerated by making users, both givers and receivers, comfortable with the form factor.