Deloitte Forecasts Big Holiday Gains

According to the annual Deloitte holiday forecast, retail sales in the U.S. should gain 5% to 5.6% versus the 2017 holiday season.

The accounting and consulting firm expects total holiday sales, seasonally adjusted and excluding motor vehicles and gasoline, to exceed $1.10 trillion in the period between November and January. Deloitte reported that it anticipates e-commerce sales growth of 17% to 22% in the holidays versus last year, reaching $128 to $134 billion.

Fundaments such as disposable personal income growth and solid consumer confidence should help drive holiday spending, but the firm’s economist noted that the holiday season arrives with potential risks attached. Some U.S. Federal Reserve money supply tightening could affect spending in the coming months as could economic factors such as an impact related to what some observers consider an overvalued stock market.

“Consumer sentiment and spending indicators provide a healthy outlook for retailers across channels with strong expectations for store-based and online retailers,” said Rod Sides, vice chairman, Deloitte LLP, and U.S. retail and distribution sector leader. “We’ve seen retailers continue to advance their approaches to shipping, delivery, in-store experiences and tech-enabled commerce. That can include things like showrooms, interactive displays that replace sorting through racks with simple, easy selections, or web-based visualization that lets people get a feel for style, fit and appearance from apparel to home decor. Voice-enabled shopping and shortened delivery times may also accelerate the competition around fast and easy purchasing options. The leading retailers this holiday season could be the ones who are able to strike the right balance between innovation, experience and value that best engages the consumer and stands out in a busy season.”