Top Stock Picks For A Strong Holiday Retail Season

Gunnar Rathbun  AP

Experts are predicting that this Cyber Monday could be the biggest in its 12-year history.

"People think retail is a nightmare, but it's not", said Tracy Ferschweiler, a Wal-Mart market manager who oversees seven stores around NY and New Jersey.

As consumer Group Which? pointed out last week many of last year's so-called Black Friday deals were cheaper or available at the same price at other times of year.

Predictions are that overall online holiday sales will reach $107 billion, rising more than 13% from past year. The chain has had 11 straight quarters of sales declines at established stores and is counting on this holiday season to turn things around. "Retailers should focus on delivering an optimized ecommerce experience across all channels, especially mobile, if they want to win this holiday season".

American shoppers spent a record $5 billion online in 24 hours, an increase of 16.9 percent in dollars spent on the internet from Black Friday in 2016. In the graph below, the blue line shows the number of those who were actively promoting Black Friday specific discounting campaigns throughout Black Friday week, while the orange line shows the number promoting discounting campaigns that were not explicitly related to Black Friday.

Online purchases continue to steal a bigger slice of the holiday shopping pie.

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In addition to Black Friday, Cyber Monday is also a very important day, and not just for pure online players.

While consumers, of course, buy pet food and supplies all year round (the American Pet Products Association reports that pet industry spending for 2016 came in at a record high $66.75 billion, up from $60.28 billion in 2015-a 10.7 percent growth), the pet industry experiences strong seasonality spending just like any other consumer product category, according to John Gibbons, president of a Global Positioning System for Pet Businesses.

In the meantime, there's plenty of busy holiday shopping days to come.

Some retailers have more of an uphill battle. That's an increase of more than 15% over last year's numbers. The United Parcel Service found in its annual survey previous year that for the first time shoppers made the majority of their purchases online. She's been a regular Sears customer for years, but feels like the selection has gone downhill.

"I like to see what I'm buying".

"I'd much rather do online", Boyd said.

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