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Holiday sales to surpass the trillion dollar mark for the first time

By Angela Gonzalez-Rodriguez

Nov 25, 2018


New York - Fueled by low unemployment, strong income growth and high consumer confidence, the holiday shopping season this year will be a strong one for retailers in the US.

Research firm eMarketer has raised its projections from its Q3 2018 forecast, specifically for brick-and-mortar retailers. In its latest holiday retail forecast, eMarketer predicts total retail sales in the U.S. will increase 5.8 percent to 1.002 trillion dollars.

”This is the first time holiday sales will cross the 1 trillion dollars mark, and 2018 shows the strongest growth since 2011. Spending momentum will get an added boost from a favorable holiday calendar that features the maximum 32 days between Thanksgiving and Christmas,” reads the report.

Research firm raises US holiday forecast as brick-and-mortar stays strong

Brick-and-mortar sales for the 2018 holiday season will jump 4.4 percent to 878.38 billion US dollars (higher than the 863 billion dollars projected in the third quarter.) Traditional, brick-and-mortar still represents the majority (87.7 percent) of holiday sales, as per eMarketer’s research. However, its share has steadily declined.

“While e-commerce will continue to see strong double-digit gains, brick-and-mortar retail should be a particularly bright spot this holiday season,” said Andrew Lipsman, principal analyst at eMarketer. “Not every brick-and-mortar retailer is thriving, and several have shut their doors this year, but others are really capitalizing on the strong consumer economy. Retailers are luring in shoppers with remodeled stores, streamlined checkout and options to buy online, pick up in-store.”

Retailers have built up inventories for products affected by tariffs on imports from China and are not expected to pass on notable price increases to consumers until 2019.

E-commerce sales to rise over 16 percent this holiday season

E-commerce sales this holiday season will increase by 16.6 percent to 123.73 billion US dollars. That means e-commerce will represent 12.3 percent of all holiday retail sales this year, a figure that has been growing steadily.

“For retailers, it will be a battle for e-commerce market share,” said eMarketer forecasting analyst Cindy Liu. “We should expect more promotions and perks like free and fast shipping, as retailers compete against Amazon.”

A channel that will continue to increase its contribution to seasonal sales is mobile. According to eMarketer, m-commerce (which they describe as sales via tablets and smartphones) is also growing, representing 43.8 percent of e-commerce this year. That equates to 5.4 percent of total holiday sales.

Image: Christmas Pajamas Family Matching Set, patpat.com

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