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October metrics suggest higher holiday spending, lower traffic


San Francisco – Several key retail customer metrics during October 2013 indicate holiday spending will rise this year compared to last year, even as holiday store traffic levels decline. According to data on nearly 20 million domestic shopping sessions during October analyzed by in-store retail analytics technology provider Euclid, window conversion in October, defined as the number of shoppers that enter a store as a percentage of the total foot traffic, rose to 8.3% from 6.5% last year, but decreased from 8.7% in September 2013.

Euclid analysis indicates the improvement in conversion rate over last year is a positive sign that the increased promotional efforts seen during the month are having an influence on the shopping trips that are still occurring.

Other metrics reported by Euclid include the percentage of shoppers who entered a store but left within five minutes ("bounce rate") was 10.5% in October 2013, up from 9% in October 2012. In addition, active repeat customers, defined as individuals returning to a store location more than once in 30 days, totaled 11.7% of total visits measured, up 0.3 percentage point from the previous month, but less than the 13.6% seen in October last year. Euclid says this uptick in shopper loyalty compared to September is a positive sign entering the holidays, as observers would expect visit frequency to rise. However, shopper frequency has a ways to go to full recovery.

Shopping session duration, defined as the mean time from store entry to store exit, was 21.5 minutes in October, a 5.5% decline from 22.8 minutes last year and also down from 21.9 minutes in September 2013. Shorter shopping sessions during the last two months reveal shoppers have become more deliberate with trips to the store, showing less interest in browsing through extraneous merchandise.

Euclid expects holiday sales to rise compared to last year, driven by increased disposable income, a very promotional holiday, and pent up demand from several weeks of depressed spending. Having said this, Euclid predicts that overall traffic will drop year-over-year as the shortened holiday period and continued economic uncertainty result in more focused shopping. Bounce rates will continue to rise and overall visit durations will shrink as shoppers, pressed for time, have less patience for longer lines and less interest in extensive browsing. Euclid also expects a decline in repeat customers compared to last year as a result of the fewer trips to store locations.

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