Deloitte: Online Retail Should Help Holiday Sales Gain Modestly

Retailers may anticipate a moderate increase in holiday sales in both stores and online for the 2015 season, Deloitte’s annual retail holiday sales forecast suggested. The consulting and market research firm announced that it expects total holiday sales in the United States to climb 3.5% to 4% in the November through January season versus the period last year, reaching between $961 and $965 billion.

The forecast growth rate is below last year’s 5.2% advance, Deloitte noted.

The firm added that it anticipates an 8.5% to 9% increase in non-store sales in the online and mail order channels during the 2015 holiday season. Deloitte stated that it expects a digital influence on 64% of retail store sales, totaling $434 billion, this holiday season as consumers use electronic devices to aid in shopping.

“An improving labor market, increasing home values and relief at the pump gave more Americans reason to believe the economic recovery was gaining real traction this year,” said Daniel Bachman, Deloitte’s senior U.S. economist. “Those recurring improvements helped buoy sentiment and spending over the past several months. Housing and employment tend to create a more meaningful wealth effect than that of the financial markets, so the recent stock market fluctuations and instability overseas should not have a marked impact on shoppers’ holiday spending intentions. However, while retail holiday sales are expected to rise, the increase may be smaller than last year due to the lingering effects of flat personal income growth in the first quarter.”