The National Retail Federation expects holiday retail sales in November and December to increase between 3.6 and 4% for a total of $678.75 billion to $682 billion – up from $655.8 billion last year.
“Although this year hasn’t been perfect, especially with the recent devastating hurricanes, we believe that a longer shopping season and strong consumer confidence will deliver retailers a strong holiday season,” says NRF President Matthew Shay.
Christmas falls 32 days after Thanksgiving this year, one day more than last year, and is on a Monday instead of Sunday, giving consumers an extra weekend day to complete their shopping.
This year’s forecast meets or exceeds last year’s 3.6% jump and a five-year average of 3.5%.
Although recent hurricanes are not seen having a long-term impact, NRF chose to issue this year’s forecast as a range rather than its usual fixed percentage because the storms’ impact on economic indicators makes a more precise forecast difficult.
“Consumers continue to do the heavy lifting in supporting our economy, and all the fundamentals are aligned for them to continue doing so during the holidays,” says NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz.
“The combination of job creation, improved wages, taming inflation and an increase in net worth all provide the capacity and the confidence to spend.”
In a separate report, Deloitte predicts retail holiday sales should rise 4 to 4.5% over last year’s shopping season, with total holiday sales to reach $1.04 to $1.05 trillion between November and January.
Additionally, Deloitte forecasts an 18 to 21% increase in ecommerce sales in 2017 compared with 2016. Ecommerce sales are expected to reach $111 to $114 billion during the 2017 holiday season.
“The good news is retail is thriving, and it is the proliferation of new, niche retailers that is resulting in [market] share constantly changing hands,” observes Deloitte Vice Chairman Rod Sides.