February 26, 2019

Executive Summary


  • 2018 holiday retail sales totaled a record of more than $1 trillion, up 3.2% over 2017, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Non-store retailers and food service & drinking places recorded the biggest year-over-year holiday gains of 7.4% and 4.6%, respectively. The sporting goods, hobby, book & music store category had the biggest decline in sales of nearly 12% year-over-year.
  • Even higher holiday sales growth had been expected and may have been curbed by the partial government shutdown and late-year stock market volatility. Given these temporary events, CBRE expects further strong holiday sales growth in 2019.


BOPS/ BOSS Strategies Pay Off


  • This holiday season set a record for in-store pick up of online purchases, which increased by 47% year-over-year from Nov. 1 to Dec. 19.1 This reflected retailers’ increased investment in buy-online, pick up in-store (BOPS) and buy-online, ship-to-store (BOSS) strategies.
  • To avoid disappointing customers and reduce delivery costs, 33% of retailers canceled their “last order promise date,” choosing to instead promote their BOPS and BOSS offerings.2
  • Old Navy enhanced its BOPS service by offering customers a free ride to and from the store via Lyft.
  • Target reported that online orders fulfilled through store pick-up services were up 60% from a year ago and accounted for roughly 25% of online sales this holiday season.


Retailers Fight for Toy Share


  • As predicted in CBRE’s 2018 Holiday Trends Guide, the demise of Toys R Us left many retailers fighting to gain toy market share.
  • The toy category saw much steeper discounts that averaged 31% on Cyber Monday compared to 19% a year ago, as retailers leveraged discounting to attract customers.2
  • Retailers likely will expand their toy selection in 2019 and offer even more discounts to gain share in the competitive toy market. 


Omnichannel Keeps on Giving


  • As expected, online sales this holiday season grew to $110.6 billion, up by 17.8% from 2017.2
  • Mobile commerce—a trend explored in CBRE’s Omnichannel Hubaccounted for more than half of online visits and increased 19.8% year-over-year.2
  • Through smartphones, shoppers spent $1 billion on Thanksgiving Day and more than $2 billion on Black Friday.2
  • The 2018 holiday season proved that retail sales will continue to shift online and that omnichannel retailers will capture the greatest share of consumer spending.



1 Adobe Analytics.

2 Kurt Salmon  - Accenture.

Explore Related Research on the U.S. Research Homepage