With people having more disposable income at hand, the Christmas holiday shopping season in the United States might yield healthier retail sales to bring this year to a close.
Experts at Deloitte are expecting a growth in holiday sales as high as 4.5 percent. In 2016, the sales were at 3.6 percent, a figure similar to 2015. They also expect that sales from e-commerce to rise 18 to 21 percent during the upcoming holiday season. They noted that digital sales increased to 14.3 percent in 2016.
Rod Sides, head of Deloitte’s Retail and Distribution wing, said that while consumer sentiment and spending patterns are indicating a rise in sales during the holiday season of this year, the underlying concern will be how the retailers will respond to this disruption in the industry.
The total sales for the upcoming Christmas holiday season which lasts from November to January are expected to reach somewhere between $1.04 trillion to $1.05 trillion. However, these sales are adjusted seasonally and exclude sales of gasoline and motor vehicles. As per Deloitte, e-commerce sales are expected to hit a peak at $114 billion.
Sides also said that the consumers have settled down quite a bit and they appear more stable. According to him, the country was going through the election cycle last year with a lot of emotional reaction in the process and this year the consumers seem to be heading into the holiday season.
Consumers saving money could become a potential threat to the sales. This could lead to a dip in spending. Also, hurricane movement in the South is an unknown factor. Sids also said that those retailers who are facing some or the other challenge with sales, should re-think things like traffic and holiday sales growth, and orient them along customer experience. They should aim at creating inspirational and relevant connections for clients which are beyond price tags, assortments, and products.
With ‘smarter’ shoppers, the share of e-retailers in the sales is going to keep growing. But this doesn’t mean that the conventional retailers are going to lose their share of the pie. In fact, as Sids said, the brick and mortar retailers are going to pick up some e-commerce share as well.
Sids also added that the tax reform if enacted by the Trump administration is going to give a boost to retail sales before the year comes to an end.
Retailers across the United States are going to hire more temporary workers for the Christmas holiday season. Target Corp., is estimating to hire about 100,000 employees for the season, which is around 40 percent more than what they hired last year.
Experts at AlixPartners, in an entirely separate survey, are also forecasting a growth of 3.5 percent to 4.4 percent in retail sales for the 2017 holiday season. And this prediction is along the lines with what Deloitte has forecasted. However, their primary concern is whether retailers can strategically tackle the growth of online shopping and the fact that young consumers tend to spend more on experiences than on tangible items.