Deloitte, in its annual end-of-year retail forecast, said it expects holiday retail sales to increase between 4.5% and 5% in 2019 and exceed $1.1 trillion for the November to January timeframe.
The consulting firm forecasts that e-commerce sales will gain 14% to 18%, year-over-year, during the upcoming holiday season, compared to 11.2% in the 2018 period. The growth will likely result in e-commerce holiday sales reaching $144 billion to $149 billion.
Daniel Bachman, Deloitte’s U.S. economic forecaster, noted that the 2019 holiday season increase reflects expectations for consistent growth through the timeframe. Last year’s holiday sales came in lower than expected in December, but the 2019 forecast includes stronger sales growth in comparison to what occured in the month during 2018. Deloitte said the difference is due to the government shutdown, uptick in consumer savings and a sharp stock market decline at the end of 2018, which may have led to the lower growth.
“The projected holiday season growth is, in part, due to the current health of the labor market. Near record-low unemployment rates, coupled with continued monthly job creation, may encourage people to spend more during the holiday season,” said Bachman. “The economy is still growing, albeit at a slower rate. Additionally, we continue to see consumer confidence elevated, which also helps boost holiday spending.”
Rod Sides, vice chairman, Deloitte LLP and U.S. retail and distribution sector leader, added, “Based on a growth in consumer disposable income and spending indicators, retailers, across channels, should expect a strong holiday season in 2019. We’ve seen retailers continue to improve customer experience, invest in the fundamentals and leverage relationships with innovative startups to boost engagement and efficiency. But, convenience is the new retail currency; retailers who offer seamless experiences, have products available, and can deliver items more quickly than ever are most likely to win this holiday season.”