New York — Research firm eMarketer is predicting 2018 U.S. holiday season sales will top $1 trillion, fueled by low unemployment, strong income growth and high consumer confidence. In its holiday retail forecast, eMarketer has raised its projections from its Q3 2018 forecast, specifically for ecommerce sales and brick-and-mortar retailers.
The company anticipates total retail sales in the U.S. will increase 5.8 percent to $1.002 trillion, noting this is the first time holiday sales will cross the $1 trillion mark. It also notes 2018 shows the strongest growth since 2011, with spending momentum gaining a boost from a favorable holiday calendar that features the maximum 32 days between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
“Although some economic headwinds are finally beginning to form after mostly blue skies in 2018, we expect their effects to be muted until after the holidays,” eMarketer reports. “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.”
Breaking down the market, the company maintains brick-and-mortar sales for the 2018 holiday season will jump 4.4 percent to $878.38 billion. While this represents 87.7 percent of holiday sales, but its share has steadily declined.
“While ecommerce will continue to see strong double-digit gains, brick-and-mortar retail should be a particular bright spot this holiday season,” says 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 cap
italizing on the strong consumer economy. Retailers are luring in shoppers with remodeled stores, streamlined checkout and options to buy online, pick up in-store.”
Ecommerce sales this holiday season will increase 16.6 percent to $123.73 billion, taking 12.3 percent of all holiday retail sales for the year, a figure that has been growing steadily.
“For retailers, it will be a battle for ecommerce market share,” says eMarketer forecasting analyst Cindy Liu. “We should expect more promotions and perks like free and fast shipping, as retailers compete against Amazon.” C&ST