ICSC Forecasts Holiday Sales Growth Of 4.9%

The International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) is forecasting a strong holiday season that will see most shoppers visiting their favorite brick-and-mortar retailers to meet their gift-giving needs.

In its annual Holiday Shopping Intentions Survey of more than 1,000 consumers, the ICSC is predicting that holiday sales will increase 4.9% over 2018 to total $832.3 billion. The average adult expects to spend $683 on holiday-related items.

Stores will continue to play a vital role in helping shoppers find what they need for family and friends. In the survey, 97% said they plan to shop a retailer that has a physical presence, with 82% of those consumers saying they are likely to make an additional purchase in-store while picking up their online purchase.

“Our annual Holiday Shopping Intentions Survey once again shows that consumers are not only optimistic about the upcoming holiday season, but also continue to favor physical stores when shopping for gifts,” said Tom McGee, president and CEO of ICSC. “Consumers expect convenience and experience when shopping which means that those retailers with a good omnichannel strategy will likely see success this holiday season.”

The majority of holiday shopping will take place between Thanksgiving and Christmas Day with 86% of shoppers planning to complete their shopping during that time period.

As in previous years, promotions will drive in-store visits, with more than 60% of shoppers saying that searching for deals encourages them to make more trips to physical stores.

The survey also found that 87% of shoppers plan to research online before going to stores, and 82% of shoppers who have a mobile device will use it in-store to compare prices, get digital coupons and check inventory.

Recently, the National Retail Federation said it expects holiday retail sales to increase between 3.8% and 4.2% over 2018 to a total of between $727.9 billion and $730.7 billion.