Although economic uncertainty and a shorter timeframe will weigh on year-end seasonal purchasing, eMarketer is forecasting total holiday retail sales growth of 3.8% to $1.01 trillion versus 2.4% in 2018.
The upcoming holiday season will include six fewer days between Thanksgiving and Christmas than was the case in 2018. Still, duration is only one factor that will impact year end sales that close out a 2019 that saw consumers demonstrate a willingness to spend despite economic volatility, eMarketer pointed out. For example, Cyber Monday will see $10 billion or more in revenue, according to eMarketer, and become the biggest e-commerce sales date in the history of the U.S. According to the market research firm, Black Friday, Thanksgiving and the only recently christened Cyber Tuesday should also rank among the leading days for the 2019 holiday season.
Despite that, brick-and-mortar retail will maintain its holiday domination, representing 86.6% of sales in the upcoming season. E-commerce may be eroding that proportion, but eMarketer anticipates in-store sales growth of 2.5% for the 2019 holidays to $872.25 billion. At the same time, digital retail sales should advance by about 13.2% to $135.35 billion, constituting 13.4% of revenues generated in the season. Although it will account for just 6.4% of holiday dollars spent, mobile commerce will be the fastest-growing shopping channel, gaining 25.1%, and reaching $64.29 billion in year-end season sales. Mobile sales will account for 47.5% of e-commerce revenues generated, up from 16.1% in 2014.
“Holiday spending growth will be driven by a consumer economy that remains robust due to low unemployment, rising wages, a strong stock market and healthy consumer confidence,” said Andrew Lipsman, eMarketer principal analyst. “At the same time, rising tariffs, trade war tensions, stock market volatility and dampening consumer sentiment all weigh on the season’s growth potential.”