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Insights

The Holiday Outlook

Holiday shopping has seen an undeniable pull forward this year and the seasonal race to steal share has intensified with looming economic uncertainty and persistent shopper demand.  

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Shoppers are poised to spend throughout the season. Are you ready? 

Holiday shopping has seen an undeniable pull forward this year and the seasonal race to steal share has intensified with looming economic uncertainty and persistent shopper demand.  

Rakuten maintains the Holiday outlook is positive for retailers over the next two weeks if they can continue to drive demand and manage margins. As we examine the current outlook and what to expect heading into Cyber 5 and December, Cash Back remains a leading strategy for retailers looking to meet deal seeking demand, drive full price, or move inventory at scale. Higher, Cash Back rates offer a competitive alternative to brands who are struggling to remain as promotional onsite, as much of the landscape is, during these final weeks to shop. 

Below, Rakuten provides the current outlook and what to expect as we head in Cyber 5 and December.  

Brands are racing to steal share with aggressive discounting 

Singles’ Day performance actualized up to LY as Rakuten saw strong participation on site and a solid promotional environment captured from a large swath of the retail industry. On Rakuten, Cash Back rates were the highest in three years as retailers sought to steal share early in the season. 

Post-Singles’ Day saw accelerated discounting in the market starting Monday 11/14.  Many retailers are launching Black Friday-level deals extremely early.  Site-wide discounts of 20-50% (and some delivered in a softer way, via email) are common.  We used to see this happening in the couple of days pre-Black Friday, but retailers are trying to steal share and pull up volume this year. 

The discount environment is more aggressive than we’ve seen in the past three years, even compared to 2019. A combination of large amounts of inventory especially in apparel and softlines, plus retailer skittishness over the looming recession and the impact this could have on post-holiday 2023 sales are contributing to a “move it now strategy across a wide range of retailers.  We are already seeing Black Friday-level discounts this week, signaling Black Friday and Cyber Monday discounts could be the deepest we’ve seen in years given the usual retail strategy to go even deeper on those days.  

Rakuten is poised to sleigh 

Shopping is starting to increase and accelerate above our expectations for the week, and faster than last year at this time. Shoppers are responding well to the discounts and cash back incentives in the market now and we’re seeing them convert earlier this week. This could mean incremental sales for brands as people impulse buy over the Cyber 5, as well as continuing to shop and deal seek throughout the week leading up to Black Friday and Cyber Monday. 

Retailer participation on our site will be at an all-time high over the Cyber 5. We’re seeing a 20% increase in merchant participation on our site, with retailers investing in more media and elevated cash back rates over the next two weeks.  

Rakuten’s November sales will be at a two year high. The shopping environment is healthy, and customers looked poised to continue taking shopping trips, placing orders, and spending. The outlook is positive for retailers over the next two weeks if they can continue to drive demand and manage margins.  

 

Are you ready? Contact you Rakuten rep to optimize your program. 

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