It’s beginning to look a lot like a strong season for retailers. Although the traditional holiday shopping season – typically between Thanksgiving and Christmas – has six fewer days this year, the National Retail Federation (NRF) predicts holiday retail sales during November and December will increase by about 4% compared to 2018, totaling approximately $730 billion. Despite a downturn in manufacturing and slowing in overall economic growth, the U.S. consumer remains resilient due to record-low unemployment, wages growing faster than inflation, a strong stock market, and healthy consumer confidence.
This season, the story is not just how much Americans shop; instead, it’s simply about how they shop. Retailers like Amazon continue to reengineer the customer experience by offering free one-day shipping on millions of items. According to the NRF’s Annual October Holiday Consumer survey, 56% of Americans plan to shop online this season, and 73% plan to use their smartphone or tablet to make a purchase. With technology assuming a greater role in retail as much as any other industry, it’s no surprise that web developers have seen the fastest growth in vacancies this year.
Retailers are applying what they’ve learned about consumers to their job candidates through recruitment software such as texting and AI-powered chatbots. This helps employers fill open positions in proportion to their latest sales forecasts, but many candidates see benefits as well. According to an iCIMS survey, 86% of Americans agree that it’s beneficial to receive text messages during the job application process.
iCIMS data confirms that employers are ramping up in anticipation of the holiday season, with a 13% increase in retail vacancies through October of this year, as well as a 7% increase in new hires, with more expected in November and December. In addition to staffing stores and traditional retail positions, companies are strengthening their tech workforce to ensure they provide a seamless online shopping experience.
Retail hiring for the 2019 holiday season is higher than 2018 for both part-time and full-time workers.
To meet consumers’ anticipated holiday shopping demands, here are a few tips for employers:
Want to learn more about the state of retail recruitment for the 2019 holiday season? Download and share our latest infographic, ‘Tis the Season for Retail Holiday Hiring.