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Deloitte Forecast: Retail Holiday Sales to Climb 5 to 5.6 Percent

E-commerce sales expected to rise 17 to 22 percent during the 2018 holiday season.

NEW YORK, Sept. 19, 2018 ― Retail holiday sales are expected to increase a robust 5 to 5.6 percent over last year’s shopping season, according to Deloitte’s annual retail holiday sales forecast.

Deloitte’s Retail and Distribution practice expects total holiday sales (seasonally adjusted and excluding motor vehicles and gasoline) to exceed $1.10 trillion between November and January.

Additionally, Deloitte forecasts a 17 to 22 percent increase in e-commerce sales in 2018 compared with 16.6 percent in 2017. E-commerce sales are expected to reach $128 to $134 billion during the 2018 holiday season.

“The anticipated growth in holiday sales is likely because of solid disposable personal income growth, which we expect will be in the 5 to 5.4 percent range. That is above last year’s 4.7 percent,” said Daniel Bachman, Deloitte’s US economic forecaster. “A strong labor market should also aid retail spending, along with elevated consumer confidence and a stable personal savings rate of around 7 percent.”

While these fundamentals are expected to boost holiday spending, Deloitte’s economist cited potential risks that may affect spending in the coming months. Some of the impacts of Fed tightening could be felt before the end of the year. Some observers have speculated the stock market is overvalued. A significant decline in the market could push down consumer confidence and reduce household wealth, both of which would moderate the forecasted rise in retail spending.

“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 US 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 the 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.”

Note to editors:
Deloitte is forecasting a 5 to 5.6 percent increase in 2018 holiday sales compared with 2017. Retail sales between November 2017 and January 2018 (seasonally adjusted and excluding automotive and gasoline) grew 5 percent and totaled $1.05 trillion according to the US Commerce Department.

Deloitte is forecasting a 17 to 22 percent increase in 2018 e-commerce sales compared with 2017. E-commerce sales between November 2017 and January 2018 (seasonally adjusted and excluding gasoline stations, motor vehicles, and parts dealers and food services) grew 16.6 percent totaling $109.8 billion.

About Deloitte

Deloitte provides industry-leading audit, consulting, tax and advisory services to many of the world’s most admired brands, including more than 85 percent of the Fortune 500 and more than 6,000 private and middle market companies. Our people work across more than 20 industry sectors to make an impact that matters — delivering measurable and lasting results that help reinforce public trust in our capital markets, inspire clients to see challenges as opportunities to transform and thrive, and help lead the way toward a stronger economy and a healthy society. Deloitte is proud to be part of the largest global professional services network serving our clients in the markets that are most important to them.

Media contacts:

Courtney Flaherty
Public Relations
Deloitte Services LP
+ 1 203 905 2708

Deloitte’s 2018 Retail Holiday Survey is coming soon.

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