And So It Is (Nearly) Christmas – Do Retailers Care About The Ethical…

By Michael Barker

And So It Is (Nearly) Christmas
Do retailers care about the ethical standings of the brands they want to sell you?
Each year, for a while now, Deloittes conduct a Retailers’ Christmas Survey. It gives an idea of what retailers think we, the consumers, are likely to do with our money at Christmas, and into the next year.
Amongst other questions they ask retailers, is whether they believe that we, the consumers, think that social, ethical and environmental responsibility is important to the brands they sell. You’d think, wouldn’t you, that they would want to be selling us products made in sustainable, fair trade ways.
Well – surprise, surprise – the survey shows that 42% of retailers surveyed believe that social, ethical and environmental responsibility is not important to their brands. Worrying, to say the least.
More generally, retailers are expecting a quiet Christmas, and a not much better new year. And online sales are still growing.
Here are the key takeaways from the 2019 Deloittes survey –
  • Only 62% of retailers expect to see higher sales this Christmas compared to last year, compared to 80% in 2018, with just under 40% expecting to see some form of Christmas period margin decrease.
  • Online sales continue to be a standout area of growth, with 58% of retailers expecting to see growth of 10% or more in online Christmas sales, down from 79% in 2018.
  • When to discount and by how much remains a critical decision, with 39% of retailers planning to discount before Christmas to drive sales compared to 31% in FY18 through sales campaigns such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
  • Over a quarter of respondents highlighted customer service as the most important driver of sales this Christmas, just behind digital and omni-channel offerings.
  • 42% of respondents believe that social, ethical and environmental responsibility is not important to their brand. However, 91% of retailers surveyed believe that customer loyalty to their brand is good or strong – a concerning perception gap which indicates the that Australian retailers may not be responding to the growing demand for organisations to operate in a responsible manner.
  • As we look forward toward 2020, 72% expect to see positive sales growth in calendar year 2020, down from more than 90% for 2019. Only 11% expect new stores to drive growth, which has consistently trended down from the height of 2017 where 43% highlighted this as a key growth driver.