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Deloitte forecast: Retail holiday sales to increase 3.5 to 4 percent

Digital interactions to influence 64 cents of every dollar spent in-store during the holiday season.

NEW YORK, Sept. 23, 2015 ― Retailers should see a moderate increase in holiday sales in the stores and online this year, according to Deloitte’s annual retail holiday sales forecast.

“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 US 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.”

Deloitte’s Retail and Distribution practice expects total holiday sales to climb to between $961 and $965 billion1, representing a 3.5 to 4 percent increase in November through January holiday sales (excluding motor vehicles and gasoline) over last year’s shopping season. This growth rate is below last year’s 5.2 percent gain. Additionally, Deloitte forecasts an 8.5 to 9 percent increase in non-store sales in the online and mail order channels2 during the 2015 holiday season.

“Online sales continue to be a growth channel, but more importantly, we’ve passed the tipping point where online and mobile engagement play a greater role generating sales in the physical store–where more than 90 percent of retail sales occur–than in digital channels alone,” said Rod Sides, vice chairman, Deloitte LLP and Retail and Distribution sector leader.

Deloitte forecasts that digital interactions will influence 64 percent, or $434 billion, of retail store sales this holiday season. This figure reflects the amount of traditional brick-and-mortar retail sales impacted by shoppers’ use of digital devices including desktop and laptop computers, tablets, and smartphones.

“Our research shows that people who shop on their phones, tablets and other devices while in stores are more likely to make a purchase and spend more overall,” added Sides. “Also, nearly 80 percent of shoppers say they engage with a retailer or brand through digital channels before setting foot inside the store. These interactions are retailers’ opportunity to engage shoppers seeking inspiration, reviews, product locators, or the option to buy online and pick up in the store. Retailers that are likely to come out ahead this holiday season are the ones connecting the dots between their digital channels and their stores–rather than focusing solely on the online ‘buy’ button.”

About Deloitte’s Retail and Distribution practice
Deloitte is a leading presence in the Retail and Distribution industry, providing audit, consulting, risk management, financial advisory, and tax services to more than 75 percent of the Fortune 500 retailers. With more than 2,400 professionals, Deloitte’s retail and distribution practice provides insights, services and approaches designed to assist retailers across all major sub-sectors including apparel, grocery, food and drug, wholesale and distribution and online. For more information about Deloitte’s Retail and Distribution sector, please visit or follow @DeloitteCB on Twitter.

1 Deloitte is forecasting a 3.5 to 4 percent increase in 2015 holiday sales compared with 2014. Retail sales between November 2014 and January 2015 (seasonally adjusted and excluding automotive and gasoline) totaled $928 billion according to the U.S. Commerce Department.

2 Deloitte is forecasting an 8.5 to 9 percent increase in 2015 holiday sales compared with 2014 for the electronic shopping and mail-order category (NAICS 4541) of non-store sales as defined by the U.S. Commerce Department.

3 Digitally-influenced store sales are estimated based on Deloitte’s digital influence factor (Navigating the New Digital Divide, May 2015) applied to forecasted retail (store) sales for November 2015 through January 2016, based on U.S. Commerce Department retail sales data. Deloitte’s analysis of digitally-influenced sales exclude motor vehicle and parts dealers, non-store retailers (which include electronic shopping and mail-order houses), and food services and drinking places.

Courtney Flaherty
Public Relations
+ 1 203 905 2708


Amy Dalkoff
Hill + Knowlton Strategies
+ 1 312 255 3078

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