NRF: Online Will Bolster Holiday Sales Totals

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Look for U.S. holiday sales for the two months ending Dec. 31 to rise between 3.6 percent and 5.2 percent to a total between $755.3 billion and $766.7 billion, according to a National Retail Federation estimate. The projection excludes auto dealer, gas station and restaurant sales. Online and non-store holiday sales are forced to rise 20-30 percent in 2020 to a range of $202.5-218.4 billion. E-commerce sales climbed 36.7 percent in the third quarter. Many households are expected to rely on digital shopping for their holiday purchases, as they have much of their everyday spending this year. While Cyber Monday’s dominance as an e-shopping day is projected to continue this year, Thanksgiving e-commerce orders could grow to 15 percent of all online purchases this holiday season, suggests NetElixir. With many stores closed and gatherings expected to be smaller than usual this holiday, more consumers may rely on e-commerce for their purchases.

As a result of store shutdowns and stay-at-home orders last spring, not all retailers and categories have rebounded as quickly, including small and mid-sided retailers. However, in the aggregate retail sales have seen a V-shaped recovery, growing both month-to-month and year-over-year each month since June, the trade group reported. Oct. retail sales in the U.S. rose 10.6 percent year-over-year, driven by early holiday shopping. Retail sales for the first 10 months of 2020 increased 6.4 percent year-over-year.

Meanwhile, weather traditionally plays a role in holiday sales. With the National Weather Service forecasting cooler and wetter weather in the north and warmer and drier weather in the south, the NRF pointed out that combination has correlated with stronger retail holiday spending in the past and could be a factor this year.