Retail will make historic sales this year

The Christmas period ended with positive sales results for the Swiss brands consulted by AWP. Swiss Post also delivered many more parcels than in previous years. With the sales starting for many brands, traders hope to continue their momentum.

The number of parcel deliveries by Swiss Post has increased further in 2021, following a meteoric rise of 30% in 2020. Since the promotional week of Black Friday, it has delivered around 23.4 million parcels, an increase of 1, 2% over one year, said the yellow giant on Monday.

Tuesday December 14 was the most prolific day with 1.2 million packages delivered. “Unlike the confinement period of 2020, there was no day during these intense weeks when our logistics were exceeded”, underlines Johannes Cramer, logistics manager of La Poste, quoted in a press release.

A first analysis in January 2021: Retail has ‘benefited overall from the pandemic’

Out of stock products

Migros also draws a positive balance. “We are satisfied with the Christmas sales. There are no major anomalies to report,” a spokesperson told AWP. Planning proved to be a little more difficult with the pandemic, however, but the classics remained the same. “What we see is that since the beginning of the month (December), online food orders have again increased significantly,” he notes.

At e-commerce giant Digitec Galaxus, sales were lower than in 2020 for two reasons: tighter restrictions that encouraged customers to shop online in 2020, when this year it was easier to get to stores, and “many popular products currently out of stock” due to supply chain difficulties.

On the side of Fnac, Christmas sales went up, the craze for books, toys and electronic equipment having been strong. Despite the pandemic, 80% of purchases were made in-store and 20% online. With the sales starting, “the public is attentive to the availability of certain products: iPhone, iPad and consoles,” notes a spokesperson.

For its part, Migros supermarkets did not experience significant shortages during the holidays, thanks to “its long-term partnerships with its suppliers”, “advance orders” but also “its control of the entire chain of value production of many products through its own industry”, specifies the spokesperson. The fact that a large proportion of food products (70%) come from Switzerland also played a role.

2021, a record year

Despite everything, the situation is likely to remain “very demanding” until the end of January 2022 with regard to shortages, but also possible price increases. On this aspect, Migros had to deal with soaring prices for certain raw materials, such as wood or durum wheat. “We always try, as far as possible, not to pass on price increases to customers. Most of the time, we achieve this, but we cannot rule out price increases everywhere, ”notes the spokesperson.

Christmas sales were very successful, also notes a manager of Globus stores. She notes a “slight increase in prices, as raw materials have become more expensive”. A situation that Digitec Galaxus is also experiencing in certain product categories, the shortage of chips and the increase in transport costs causing the prices charged by its suppliers to swell, for example for graphics cards and computers. “And the higher purchase prices end up being felt by consumers,” notes the spokesperson.

According to forecasts by economists from the BAK Institute, retail trade should break new records in 2021 and cross the 100 billion franc mark for the first time.

American consumers spent lavishly on the holidays

American consumers also spent lavishly on the holidays: retail sales jumped 8.5% between November 1 and December 24 compared to last year, according to the Mastercard SpendingPulse study published on Sunday.

This is the strongest increase in 17 years for this barometer of consumer spending (excluding automobiles), driven by a new jump in online sales (+11%) but also thanks to a physical return to stores (+8, 1%).

“Consumers have been splurging all season long,” said Steve Sadove, senior adviser for Mastercard and former CEO of high-end clothing chain Saks Fifth Avenue. “Clothing stores and department stores have experienced strong growth, consumers have wanted to look good,” he said in a statement.

Shortly before the spread of the Omicron variant in the United States, which once again cast a shadow over the health of economic activity, Americans rushed to clothing (+47.3% in sales compared to the year passed at the same time), but also on jewelry (+32%) and in department stores (+21.2%). In preference to electronic products, whose sales growth nevertheless remained solid (+16.2%).

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