Chapter 02.

Predictions for Retail Golden Quarter 2022

With the end of summer comes the all-important transition to autumn and winter for online retailers, and with it the start of what has become known as the ‘Golden Quarter’ – a time when large uplifts in retail site visitors and revenue can occur due to known sales periods such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the Christmas period. Spanning October to December, the Golden Quarter has never been more important to retail businesses, especially in the wake of the Covid pandemic which has seen more consumers switch to online shopping.

What does the Golden Quarter mean for retailers?

Our Global Commercial Director and Lead Analyst, Matt Furneaux, shares his predictions for the retail Golden Quarter 2022.

"Last year’s Golden Quarter was a mixed bag for businesses. On one hand, retailers faced major challenges as they navigated supply chain and stock issues. But the media coverage surrounding these Christmas shortages prompted shoppers to rush and buy their gifts earlier than the spending spree we usually see in December.

And with some consumers having built up savings throughout lockdown, and Christmas 2020 being an understated affair, it seemed like everyone was determined to make a real occasion out of Christmas 2021.

For 2022, research indicates that sentiment around Christmas is still positive. However, the cost of living crisis will undoubtedly cause some trepidation among shoppers. Retail inflation is cutting across everything – from home and vehicle fuel, to practically every segment of the economy – with wage inflation nowhere close to keeping pace with price rises.

Retailers during this Golden Quarter may therefore see less spend across the board and will need to maintain customer loyalty through personalisation, relevant offers and seamless shopping experiences.

This year, we will most likely see consumers spreading the cost of Christmas by starting their shopping even earlier. So, retailers should plan now for an extended eCommerce season. One retailer doing just that is Tesco. The supermarket has already released a Christmas advert suggesting customers should spread the cost of rising food prices by starting their shopping now, with the help of its Clubcard Christmas Savers initiative.

The cost of living will also have huge implications for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Shoppers will be unforgiving in their hunt for the best bargains and will be more ruthless than ever when it comes to choosing which retailers to buy from. It’s crucial to put in place strategies now so that websites and checkouts are optimised for UX, and digital customer data is up to date and accurate to ensure those all-important special offers and marketing messages are reaching the right people.

Rising fuel prices are having a significant impact on both businesses and consumers so driving down failed deliveries will be key to maintain those razor thin margins in what looks like a pre-recessionary trading period. Getting each transaction completed first time helps to reduce cost wastage due to repeated delivery attempts. Capturing and verifying customer address data will enable you to better plan deliveries and boost customer satisfaction by meeting delivery expectations."