Easter Shopping Behavior: After discount (58.9%) and department stores (45.8%), online (28.0%) is the No. 3 retail channel US consumers plan to shop for Easter, according to National Retail Federation (NRF) survey data. And while traditional activities, like visiting family and friends or cooking, are the most popular celebratory plans, shopping also has a role—11.0% of consumers plan to shop digitally on Easter itself, and 9.2% said they'll shop in-store. Roughly eight in 10 US consumers will celebrate Easter in 2018.
Tech for Personalization: Almost all brands (90%) think finding the right technologies to offer personalized experiences is a major challenge, according to a January 2018 survey of US and UK marketers by OnBrand and Bynder. Being granted sufficient budget was a distant second, at 37% of respondents. As far as tech investments, mobile apps (68%) were the most popular, and voice assistants (40%) and virtual reality (37%) also made strong showings. A majority (54%) of marketers polled prefer a female voice for these virtual assistants.
IT Investment: A study from RIS News and Gartner found that 69% of retailers said they're planning to increase their IT budgets in 2018. While still a significant proportion, that's down from 88% last year. "Since large segments of retail had a challenging year in 2017—apparel, sporting goods and mass merchants—and many retailers peg their IT budgets to revenue, it is not surprising that fewer retailers are increasing their IT budgets," the report explained.