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Deloitte forecast: Retail holiday sales to increase 3.6 to 4 percent

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

New York, Sept. 21, 2016―Retailers should see an uptick in holiday sales in stores and online this year, according to Deloitte’s annual retail holiday sales forecast.

“We anticipate a modest increase in sales growth as economic fundamentals that boost spending improve further,” said Daniel Bachman, Deloitte’s senior US economist. “Consumers have ramped up their spending this year on the back of a strong labor market. We also expect slightly higher growth in disposable personal income during the upcoming holiday season compared with last year. Consumer confidence also remains elevated, despite some fluctuations in 2016. Additionally, households have been drawing down their savings, and therefore spending has been healthier than would normally be expected given the rate of income growth. While attention toward presidential elections may be a temporary distraction in the early part of the holiday shopping season, it should not have a negative impact on sales, and retailers may benefit from a pickup in postelection consumer spending.”

Deloitte’s Retail and Distribution practice expects total holiday sales to exceed $1 trillion1, representing a 3.6 to 4 percent increase in November through January holiday sales (excluding motor vehicles and gasoline) over last year’s shopping season. Additionally, Deloitte forecasts a 17 to 19 percent increase in e-commerce sales, reaching $96 to $98 billion during the 2016 holiday season.2

“We anticipate that marketplace fragmentation–more than e-commerce–will be the major disruptor this holiday season,” said Rod Sides, vice chairman, Deloitte LLP and retail and distribution sector leader.

“Retail competition won’t come from the big box down the street or major e-commerce players,” Sides noted. “It’s likely to be the small and midsized retailers that focus on niche products and experiences. This group has been collectively stealing share from large, traditional retailers to the tune of $200 billion in annual sales over the last five years. The retailers that compete on differentiated products and experiences should be better positioned to outperform those who try to compete on low-price, value and convenience, or continue to rely on conventional sales events and promotions.”

Deloitte forecasts that digital interactions will influence 67 percent, or $661 billion3, 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.

“The trend to watch is the way that online, mobile, and store channels influence each other,” added Sides. “Large e-commerce players and digital platforms such as Facebook and Pinterest are shaping what people think a great shopping experience is–a fast, highly-curated assortment with access to visuals, information, and buying sources. Since these bigger platforms are more connected to the customer than the tradition retailer, it is important that they are part of retailers’ digital marketing campaigns this holiday season.”

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 us @DeloitteCB.

About Deloitte
Deloitte provides industry-leading audit, consulting, tax, and advisory services to many of the world’s most admired brands, including 80 percent of the Fortune 500. Our people work across more than 20 industry sectors to deliver measurable and lasting results that help reinforce public trust in our capital markets, inspire clients to make their most challenging business decisions with confidence, and help lead the way toward a stronger economy and a healthy society.


1. Deloitte is forecasting a 3.6 to 4 percent increase in 2016 holiday sales compared with 2015. Retail sales between November 2015 and January 2016 (seasonally adjusted and excluding automotive and gasoline) totaled $968.8 billion according to the US Commerce Department.

2. Deloitte is forecasting a 17 to 19 percent increase in 2016 e-commerce sales compared with 2015. E-commerce sales between November 2015 and January 2016 (seasonally adjusted and excluding gasoline stations and motor vehicles and parts dealers) grew 15.9 percent totaling $81.9 billion.

3. Digitally-influenced store sales are estimated based on Deloitte’s digital influence factor (The New Digital Divide: The future of digital influence in retail, September 2016) applied to forecasted retail (store) sales for November 2016 through January 2017, based on US Commerce Department retail sales data. Deloitte’s analysis of digitally-influenced sales exclude gasoline stations, non-store retailers (which include electronic shopping and mail-order houses), and food services and drinking places.

As used in this document, "Deloitte" means Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries. Please see for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries. Certain services may not be available to attest clients under the rules and regulations of public accounting.

Media contacts:

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

Amy Dalkoff
Hill + Knowlton Strategies
+1 312 255 3078

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