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Deloitte: US Holiday Sales Set for Strong Growth

US holiday retail sales will soar this year amid a return to in-person shopping, a release of pent-up demand, and higher disposable income, Deloitte predicted. Sales for the November-to-January festive season will climb 7% to 9% year on year to between $1.28 trillion and $1.3 trillion, the professional services giant said recently. That compares with a 6% rise last year, when holiday sales were higher than expected given the coronavirus pandemic. E-commerce sales are due to increase 11% to 15% year on year to between $210 billion and $218 billion, Deloitte noted. “We anticipate strong consumer spending for the upcoming holiday season,” said Daniel Bachman, Deloitte’s US economic forecaster. “As vaccination rates rise and consumers are more comfortable being outside of the home, we are likely to see increased spending on services...while spending on goods will continue to hold steady. A steady decline in the savings rate to pre-pandemic levels will support consumer spending and keep retail sales elevated this season.” Meanwhile, Bain & Company believes this holiday season could see the second-highest growth rate for the retail industry in more than 20 years. The consulting company has forecast sales for the November-to-December trading period will jump 7% to $800 billion, with about 75% of that revenue deriving from in-store purchases. Online sales will see high-single-digit growth. “The pandemic has impacted nearly every inch of the retail industry, changing channel preferences and altering category spend mixes while also exacerbating labor and supply-chain shortages, which could limit growth in some holiday favorite categories, such as electronics and appliances,” said Aaron Cheris, head of Bain’s Americas retail practice. “However, heading into this holiday season, we also see important tailwinds for nominal retail growth, including boosts from inflation, rebounding employment, healthy savings rates and wage growth.” Last month, Mastercard SpendingPulse predicted total retail sales for the traditional festive period would rise 7% over last year and 11% over 2019, with purchases of jewelry surging 59%.


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