Holiday Outlook Shines Bright For Retailers: Deloitte

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There’s some good news for retailers regarding this holiday season as an uptick in sales is expected. “We anticipate a modest increase in sales growth as economic fundamentals that boost spending improve further,” said Daniel Bachman, Deloitte senior U.S. economist, who noted that consumers are spending more thanks to a stronger labor market.

“We also expect slightly higher growth in disposable personal income during the upcoming holiday season compared with last year,” he added. “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.”

According to Deloitte, total holiday sales are expected to exceed $1 trillion, 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. The group also forecast a 17 to 19 percent increase in e-commerce sales, reaching $96 to $98 billion during the 2016 holiday season.

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

“Retail competition will not only come from the big box down the street or major e-commerce players,” Sides noted. “It is also likely to come from the small and midsized retailers that focus on niche products and experiences. This group has been collectively taking 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 well positioned to outperform other competitors during the holiday season.”

Digital interactions via smartphones, tablets and computers will influence 67 percent, or $661 billion, of retail store sales this holiday season. Said Sides: “The trend to watch is the way that online, mobile and store channels influence each other. Large e-commerce players and digital platforms such as Facebook and Pinterest are shaping what people think a great shopping experience is.”

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